South China Sea Issue pdf Download latest updates – South China Sea Arbitration

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South China Sea Issue pdf Download latest updates - South China Sea Arbitration

What is the News?

  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) awarded verdict on maritime entitlements in South China Sea over the West Philippines sea dispute between China and Philippines.
  • The Tribunal decided in favour of the Philippines and said that China does not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that their “nine-dash line” claim has no legal basis.
  • The ‘Nine Dash Line’ is a wide hoop that springs from the southern tip of China’s Hainan Island and follows the coast of Vietnam all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City and beyond. It loops east not far from where the Malacca Straits feeds into the South China Sea, about level with Singapore, and tracks along Borneo and the Philippines, finally ending just south of Taiwan.

South China Sea Issue pdf Download latest updates – South China Sea Arbitration

Permanent Court of Arbitration

  • The PCA was the first permanent intergovernmental organization to provide a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means.
  • The PCA was established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 during the first Hague Peace Conference

Issues regarding Nine Dash Line in South China Sea and Pca Ruling

  • Until the late nineteenth century the South China Sea had provided a fertile fishing ground and a smooth navigation route for China and other Littoral states. This tranquillity has been disturbed by two recent developments:
  • The physical occupation of Spratly islands by some coastal states.
  • Under article 76(8) of UNCLOS (United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea) states around the world submitted their applications for extension of limits of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to the Commission.
  • China claims sovereignty over the entire area which includes Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and several reefs, shoals etc.
  • China’s historic rights backed by imperial maps of Ming Dynasty over the resources of South China Sea were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided in the UNCLOS.
  • The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.

The Tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by

  • (a) interfering with Philippines’ fishing and petroleum exploration
  • (b) constructing artificial islands and
  • (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.

The Tribunal also held that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal and that China had interfered with these rights in restricting access.

Reactions of other nations 

The arbitration against China led to the mixed set of reactions from major world powers:

  • India: With the PCA negating Chinese claims over South China Sea, Indian naval warships can now move through the region under UNCLOS without informing the Chinese. India has expanded its role at the maritime high table, particularly in South East Asia. Asserting the PCA judgment is an opportunity for New Delhi to assure its friends and allies in the region that it believes in the principle of freedom of navigation to all vessels in international waters. This will enhance India’s credibility and reputation as a maritime power in the region.
  • S.A: The arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea. The United States strongly supports the rule of law.
  • Australia: Australia supports the right of all countries to seek to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS, adding that adherence to international law is the foundation for peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.
  • Japan: Japan also reiterated the importance of Rule of Law and supported the
  • Vietnam: Vietnam as one of the South China Sea claimant countries strongly supports the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

South China Sea Issue pdf Download latest updates – South China Sea Arbitration