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Past And Present of The South China Sea ep.4: Establishment of South China Sea Tribunal


07-04-2016 17:20 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

Since the east and south of the Nansha Islands has found rich in oil and gas resources, territorial disputes in South China Sea have never stopped. The Philippines tried to submit a compulsory arbitration on “maritime jurisdiction” since 2013. How did the arbitration come from and what are the highlights of the arbitration?

On January 22nd, 2013, the Philippines issued a notice to the Chinese government notifying about the arbitration initiated on “maritime jurisdiction” for a compulsory arbitration.

On February 19th, the Chinese government returned the notice and its attached arbitration notice back to the Philippine government, stating that its position of “rejection of the arbitration and non-participation in the arbitral process”.

Li Guoqiang [Deputy Director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science]:

There are mainly 15 submission in the so-called South China Sea arbitration submitted by the Philippines.

In all of those submission, it deliberately avoids the sovereignty and maritime delimitation issues.

Thus it (the so-called arbitration) is carefully packed in the cloth of an ordinary maritime issue. But no matter what disguise it may be under, it is, ultimately, a political provocation.

However, in July 2013, the Tribunal issued 1st order and passed “rules of procedure” and the South China Sea Arbitration was initiated.

On March 30th, 2014, the Philippines submitted a formal claim to the arbitration tribunal in which it requests the tribunal to give a ruling on 15 claims with its following contents as its core: it demands the tribunal to rule “dotted lines” claimed by China in the South China Sea as against the spirit of UNCLOS; it demands the tribunal to announce Meji Jiao and other 3 Jiao are submerged reefs which do not entail 200 nautical miles of EEZ; it demands the tribunal to rule that China is “infringing” the rights and interests of claimed by the Philippines in line with UNCLO and that China shall terminate such actions.

Just as the Philippines was “demanding China to stop infringement”,whereas in March 2014, it carried out provocation towards China Coast Guard, intruded into the Chinese waters of the South China Sea and landed on Ren’ai Reef.

On December 7th 2014, Chinese Foreign Ministry was authorized to issue a position paper of the government on the matter of jurisdiction in the South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Republic of the Philippines and reiterated its position of “rejection, non-participation in” the arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

Looking back at the whole process of the arbitration, no matter how meticulously the Philippines had designed its claims, the whole case, as a matter of fact, invariably involved territorial sovereignty and maritime demarcation issues which is beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal.

The Tribunal should have respected relevant countries, uphold just and fairness of international laws, promote the solution of disputes between China and the Philippines through diplomatic means. On the contrary, the tribunal completely ignored China's rights and interests and conducted mandatory arbitration solely based on the statement of the Philippines, making its impartiality and rationality being questioned.

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