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Crossover: Two-day conference on maritime law and dispute settlement

Reporter: Li Jiejun 丨 CCTV.com

07-17-2016 05:12 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

For more on the conference, joining us live from Hong Kong is CCTV correspondent Li Jiejun.

Q1. The two-day colloquium has just ended, tell us what were the highlights?

This is the first high-level conference on international maritime law since an arbitration tribunal in the Hague released its findings on the South China sea last week. Legal questions concerning the disputed arbitration was a central topic at the conference. Scores of experts from China and abroad attended the meeting. Two thirds of the participants were from the US and Europe, including lawyers, judges and professors. So a number of different perspectives were heard. The legal scholars discussed a wide range of issues, including the tribunal's jurisdiction, China's historic rights, and international norms on how to describe maritime features. Participants were divided on some technical issues, but almost all of them were taken aback by the tribunal's aggressive opinion. Many called it "one-sided."

Q2. Legal scholars have criticized the recent arbitration case on the South China Sea issue.  Many question the tribunal's authority and its findings. What are the experts saying? 

Most legal experts agreed that the arbitral opinion lacks any real legal effect. A number of them openly questioned the jurisdiction and authority of the tribunal. Or criticized its decision to ignore China’s historic rights. A major point of irritation was the questionable precedent set by the tribunal on how to judge what is an island and what is a rock. Professor Stefan Talmon shared his opinion. Let’s take a listen.

Analysts say ridiculous. If Taiping Dao is not an island, how could Japan’s Okinotorishima islands, which are much more smaller than Taiping Dao, be considered islands, and many islands in the world cannot be called islands either.

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