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South China Sea FAQ 1: Can the South China Sea arbitration be fair?

Reporter: Hou Na 丨 CCTV.com

06-08-2016 10:30 BJT

Full coverage: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

China and the Philippines originally reached consensus to settle their disputes over the South China Sea through negotiation.

And this consensus is in accordance with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea -- the DOC-- signed by China and ASEAN Member States, including the Philippines, in 2002.

However, on January 23, 2013, the Philippines unilaterally initiated the arbitration, in violation of its agreement with China.

And now the question is, can this arbitration be fair?

The DOC explicitly states that "the Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means  through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."

UNCLOS allows for exclusion to arbitration. In 2006, China made a declaration excluding disputes concerning maritime delimitation, historic bay or titles, military activity and law enforcement activities.

The Philippines went ahead with arbitration without any consultations or negotiations with China. The Philippines went back on its word. Not only that, but it's conveniently ignoring the key part of the UNCLOS settlement procedure.

The arbitration can't be fair because it's illegal.

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