China to set up International Maritime Judicial Centre

China to set up International Maritime Judicial Centre

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  • China’s apex court will create an “international maritime judicial center” to handle territorial disputes and  protect its sovereignty and rights at sea. Announcement in this regard was made by China’s top judge Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC). However the authority of any such stature is unlikely to be recognised by the many neighbours with whom China has territorial disputes.
  • China’s Supreme Court has decided to set up its own International Maritime Judicial Centre (IMJC) to handle territorial disputes and protect its sea rights. It was announced by China’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang at the annual meeting of the national legislature National People’s Congress (NPC). This move will help China to bolster its claims in the disputed South and East China seas and also help it become a maritime power.

Background

  • China claims a large part of South and East China Sea, creating multiple overlaps with areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. The tensions have risen recently over China’s aggressive land reclamation continues to build artificial islands, airport runways and facilities on disputed reefs.
  • Generally international maritime disputes between countries are usually brought before the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Philippines currently has a case lodged against China at the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague but Beijing has refused to participate in the tribunal, saying the court has no power to rule on the matter.