South China Sea is not China’s, says UN-backed Hague arbitration panel: 10 latest developments

By: | Published: July 12, 2016 5:27 PM

China Sea falling within the 'nine-dash line'. The case is a long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea.

South China SeaChina Sea falling within the ‘nine-dash line’. The case is a long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. (Reuters)

A UN-backed arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled on Tuesday that China has no legal basis to claim “historic rights” to islands in South

China Sea falling within the ‘nine-dash line’. The case is a long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea.

The Philippines had asked the tribunal to declare China’s claims and actions invalid under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing has refused to join the case, rejecting the tribunal’s jurisdiction, and has said it will not accept the decision.

China asserts sovereignty over almost all of the strategically vital waters in the face of rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours. China’s claims were first enshrined in a map drawn in the 1940s with a nine-dash line stretching south from China and encircling almost all of the sea, although it says Chinese fishermen have been using it for centuries.

We take a look at the top 10 developments

1. Chinese government swiftly rejected the ruling that China’s claim of much of the South China Sea has no legal basis, saying Beijing does not accept the jurisdiction of the panel. In a statement, the foreign ministry said that China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.”

2. A second statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after the verdict was released countered tribunal’s findings that China’s claims over islands and the reefs in the SCS. “China’s Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) consist of Dongsha Qundao (the Dongsha Islands), Xisha Qundao (the Xisha Islands), Zhongsha Qundao (the Zhongsha Islands) and Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands)”, it said.

3. The Philippine government welcomed a ruling that rejects China’s ‘nine-dash line’ claiming much of the South China Sea. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in Manila the “milestone decision” was an important contribution to efforts in addressing disputes in the sea. Dozens of Filipinos rallying in Manila jumped in joy, wept and waved Philippine flags after news that an international tribunal had sided with the Philippines against China’s sea claims. One person held up a poster that said: “Philippine sovereignty, non-negotiable.”

4. Japan urged China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal ruling that found no legal basis for Beijing’s South China Sea claims. Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision is “final and legally binding” and that the two sides should comply with it.

5. Thailand has urged all parties with stakes in the South China Sea to maintain peace and stability.

6. Taiwan says it does not accept tribunal ruling on South China Sea, it insists on “Republic of China’s” sovereignty over South China Sea islands. Taiwan said South China Sea disputes should be resolved via multilateral negotiations.

7. Reacting to the verdict, India said that it was “studying” the verdict of a UN-backed tribunal.

8. Oil prices jumped following the findings from The Hague, with international Brent crude futures up over a dollar, or more than 2 percent, to $47.29 per barrel at 0932 GMT. The deep waters of the South China Basin between the Spratly and also-disputed Paracel Islands are the most direct shipping lane between northeast Asia’s industrial hubs of China, Japan and South Korea and Europe and the Middle East.

9. Vietnam has accused Chinese vessels of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters.

10. Vietnam welcomed the ruling by the court, saying it strongly supports peaceful resolution of disputes, while reasserting its own sovereignty claims.  Two Chinese vessels chased and sank the Vietnamese boat around midday Saturday as it was fishing near the Paracel islands. The five fishermen were rescued by another trawler around seven hours later.

(With input from Agencies)

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