Court decision on South China Sea favours the Philippines claims
(13 July 2016)
The Permanent Court of Arbitration announced a unanimous decision in the South China Sea arbitration between the Philippines and China. The arbitration Tribunal, constituted under Article VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, “concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”
With specific reference to the Spratly Islands, the Tribunal concluded that the islands had only had transient use -by China as well as other States- and its main economic activity had been extractive, and that therefore the islands were not capable of generating extended maritime zones.
The Tribunal also found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and had caused severe harm to the coral reef environment.
Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay stated, “The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision,”
On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country "will not accept" the decision, adding that China "under any circumstances, will not be affected by the award".