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Biased award in South China Sea arbitration has no binding force: expert

Editor: Chen Yue 丨Xinhua

07-19-2016 13:48 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

SINGAPORE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The biased award rendered by an arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration has no binding force as the ad hoc tribunal violated international law principles and standards, an expert said here on Monday.

Sienho Yee, chief expert at the Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University, said the arbitral tribunal adopted an excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant, played a game of words, and distorted the text of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The wrongful exercise by the tribunal did a substantial damage to the international rule of law, he said, adding that it had failed to consider and respect the limitations imposed by UNCLOS and China's intents and purposes in invoking its explicit right under the convention to exclude disputes concerning maritime delimitation and historic titles.

"It is manifestly clear that the tribunal abuses its power and as a result the award is null and avoid," he told Xinhua during a think tank seminar on South China Sea and regional cooperation and development.

Yee also pointed out that the arbitral award was not generally accepted, so they would be with no binding force.

"The large number of states supporting China's positions seems to show that the decisions of the tribunal are not generally acceptable and therefore are without binding force," he said.

The Chinese government said the ad hoc arbitral tribunal established at the unilateral request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and the award rendered by it is null and void with no binding force.

The tribunal had exemplified the philosophy of "the end justifies the means" by excessively expansive interpretation of the jurisdictional grant and the sweeping final award, in a bid to exhibit its determination to settle any dispute that may exist in its view, while disregarding any other issues such as respect for the sovereignty of the states involved, said Yee.

"The danger of this philosophy to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the international legal system, international rule of law and the world order at large is clear, and we must guard against this danger," he said.

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