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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

PRC legal setback reaches beyond “nine-dash line”

China has no ‘historic title’ over waters of South China Sea; None of the Spratly Islands grant China an exclusive economic zone: Hague tribunal PRC legal setback reaches beyond “nine-dash line” A tribunal rejected sweeping claims over the South China Sea. Beijing refuses to recognise the court's jurisdiction. That means clashes will go on. It also casts doubt on China's respect for other international rules - and undercuts more positive moves to project economic power. Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on July 12 rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a ruling that will be claimed as a victory by the Philippines. "There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the Permanent Court of Arbitration said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources. In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work. China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it does not accept the court's jurisdiction and will not be bound by any ruling. China urges Australia to take international law seriously Source: Xinhua 2016-07-14 18:49:32 More BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday urged Australia not to treat the illegal conclusion of an unlawful arbitration court as the international law. "We hope that the Australian side will take international law seriously, instead of as a trifling matter," Lu Kang told a daily news briefing. After an arbitral tribunal issued on Tuesday a so-called award on the South China Sea arbitration, which was unilaterally initiated by the former government of the Philippines, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned China there would be "strong reputational costs" for ignoring the ruling. "I am a little shocked to hear Bishop's remarks," Lu said. "We hope Australia can respect the fair position of majority members of international community." China respects international law -- if any country violates it, the consequences will not be only reputational costs, Lu said, noting that China upholds the sanctity of the international law and rejects any action that violates the international law. China urged Australia not to regard the violation of the international law as international law itself, Lu said. It is reported that on Wednesday Bishop called on all parties to respect the so-called ruling, which she described as final and legally binding, and she also said Australian ships and aircraft would continue to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight rights. "We have lodged solemn representations with the Australian side," Lu said. As the largest coastal state in the South China Sea, China respects the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law, Lu said. China will take firm responses to any provocative action that undermines China's sovereignty and security interests in the name of navigation and over-flight freedom, according to the spokesperson. Australia is not a party concerned in the South China Sea issue, Lu said, adding that China hopes Australia will keep its promise of not taking a stand on sovereign claim disputes, and refrain from moves that might damage bilateral ties and regional peace and stability. When commenting the so-called ruling, Lu said the arbitration unilaterally filed by the Aquino III government, which violated international law, is a political farce under the cloak of law. What the arbitral tribunal did severely deviated from the common practice of international arbitration. The ruling is null and void with no binding force, Lu said. He said it will in no way affect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. China opposes and refuses to accept any proposition or action based on the ruling. Lu said China will continue to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. He said China will continue to endeavor to peacefully resolve relevant disputes in the South China Sea with parties directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historic facts and in accordance with international law. Breakingviews on Twitter breakingviews.com breakingviews.com Search the Archive Wednesday, 13 July 2016 Sign In Request Trial Home Columns Features Videos Books Calculators About Us ▶Home ▶Considered View ▶PRC legal setback reaches beyond “nine-dash line” Scarborough fair 12 July 2016 By Peter Thal Larsen email Email Activists who travelled to disputed Scarborough Shoal and were blocked by Chinese Coastguard a few months ago jubilate, after a ruling on the disputed South China Sea by an arbitration court in Hague in favor of Philippines, at a restaurant in Manila, Philippines July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RTSHITU China just suffered a maritime legal setback – and it will resonate far beyond the South China Sea. A tribunal on Tuesday sided with the Philippines in a dispute over the strategically important waters. By refusing to recognise the court’s jurisdiction, the People’s Republic raises questions about its respect for other international rules and undermines its efforts to project economic power in more constructive ways. The decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague after more than three years of legal process is a landmark because it’s the first case of its kind. But it does little to change the immediate balance of power inside the “nine-dash line” – the demarcation Beijing uses to assert its claim over the ocean. China boycotted the case from the start, and seems unlikely to stop building artificial islands, drilling for oil, and chasing away Philippine fishing boats. In the short term, the emphatic ruling might raise tensions by encouraging countries such as Vietnam to press claims. It may also prompt the United States to play an even more visible role in the area, which includes important shipping lanes. Yet such tensions are hardly new. Barring a major conflagration ( a large destructive fire), the economic consequences will be limited. None of China’s smaller neighbours can afford to take the risk of mounting a more direct challenge. The bigger question mark is over China’s attitude towards other international institutions. As the United States flirts with Donald Trump’s protectionism, the world’s second-largest economy has an opportunity to play a bigger role on the global stage. Yet its petulant and defensive response to the maritime case suggests it is not willing – or not ready – to exert such influence. (Petulant: 1. Unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered; peevish. 2. Contemptuous in speech or behavior.) More immediately, China’s stance sets back efforts to project a softer kind of power. Beijing has poured billions of dollars into institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in an attempt to show leadership promoting economic development. Its aggressive attitude to its neighbours in the South China Sea risks cancelling out gains it has made elsewhere. Activists who travelled to disputed Scarborough Shoal and were blocked by Chinese Coastguard a few months ago jubilate, after a ruling on the disputed South China Sea by an arbitration court in Hague in favor of Philippines, at a restaurant in Manila, Philippines July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RTSHITU Activists who travelled to disputed Scarborough Shoal and were blocked by Chinese Coastguard a few months ago jubilate, after a ruling on the disputed South China Sea by an arbitration court in Hague in favor of Philippines, at a restaurant in Manila, Philippines July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RTSHITU Related Links Breakingviews is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. ▶ Reuters: Tribunal says China has no historic title over South China Sea ▶ Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal ruling Subjects ▶ China ▶ EMEA ▶ Government and Agencies ▶ Money & Markets ▶ Philippines ▶ Politics ▶ South China Sea ▶ The Hague Context News Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on July 12 rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a ruling that will be claimed as a victory by the Philippines. "There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the Permanent Court of Arbitration said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources. In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work. China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it does not accept the court's jurisdiction and will not be bound by any ruling. Most Popular ▶ Theresa May certainty eases UK political crisis ▶ Nintendo’s big Pokemon boost depends on Asia ▶ Pokemon GO hints mixed reality beats virtual kind ▶ Workers on boards only small step in UK governance ▶ Viacom CEO has last scene to shoot before his exit email Email Breakingviews on Twitter Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions © Thomson Reuters 2016. All rights reserved. ======================== ‘Ill-founded, farcical’: Beijing blasts South China Sea ruling, vows to defend its interests Published time: 12 Jul, 2016 14:29 Edited time: 12 Jul, 2016 15:44 Get short URL Chinese President Xi Jinping. © Edgar Su / Reuters China has gone ballistic over The Hague Tribunal's rejection of claims to “historic rights” in the South China Sea in a case brought by the Philippines. Beijing called the verdict “ill-founded,” warning its armed forces would defend its maritime interests. President Xi Jinping has acknowledged that China is dedicated to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, but will accept no actions based on the outcome of the arbitration case, Reuters reported. Read more Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. © U.S. NavySouth China Sea row: Hague Tribunal rules in favor of Philippines, China to ignore decision Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the arbitration case put the dispute into hot water of an escalating confrontation, state news agency Xinhua reported. The Defense Ministry has also stated that the ruling will not affect China’s sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea. Although the ruling is binding, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no powers of enforcement. “No matter what kind of ruling is to be made, the Chinese military will firmly safeguard its national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests, unwaveringly safeguard regional peace and stability and deal with all kinds of threats and challenges," Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND), said in a statement. Beijing has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and repeatedly warned that it would not recognize any adverse ruling from The Hague’s arbitration court. Xinhua said on Tuesday that the "law-abusing tribunal," hearing the case, had issued an "ill-founded award." The court said in the 497-page ruling on that “There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line',” referring to a demarcation line on a map of the sea from 1947. The dispute over the South China Sea involves the Spratly and the Paracel Islands. Beijing’s territorial claims to the islands partly overlap those of the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, while Beijing also has ongoing territorial disputes in the area with Malaysia and Brunei. To bolster its claims over the disputed territory, Beijing has been busy setting up defense installations in the area, calling Washington’s involvement in the dispute the “greatest” threat to the region. Read more Ships of Chinese Coast Guard are seen near Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shi You 981 in the South China Sea © Reuters‘Don’t infringe upon our sovereignty!’ China warns US ahead of South China Sea ruling The US Navy has been fiercely opposed to this Chinese initiative and has deployed additional warships in the disputed zone. Conducting maneuvers near China’s artificial islands, it said its moves are innocent and in the interest of “freedom of navigation.” After the Tribunal's Tuesday ruling, the United States called on all parties to comply with the court ruling and avoid “provocative actions.” "The decision today by the Tribunal in the Philippines-China arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement, according to Reuters. "The United States expresses its hope and expectation that both parties will comply with their obligations," he added. "In the aftermath of this important decision, we urge all claimants to avoid provocative statements or actions." Meanwhile, followers on Chinese social media platform Weibo have been up in arms over the Tribunal's ruling and Washington's role in the dispute. According to Emily Siu, RT's correspondent in China, comments ranged from dead serious - “The Philippines and the US are disgusting” and “Watch out how the US and Japan will react, China will turn G20 into G18!” - to slightly sarсastic - “We can’t give up the South China Sea, who knows how much delicious seafood lives down there!” and “Fine, we don’t want bananas or mangoes from you anymore, Philippines.” The ruling is “completely irrelevant,”“illegal,” and “non-binding,” Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, told RT. He believes that “the United States was very much involved in this arbitration case brought by the Philippines… trying to put pressure on China.” “China will stand firm on the matter of principle and China will also use all military resources to make sure that the US will not win this battle against China,” Gao said.

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