MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines was highly favored as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations ruled in its arbitration case against China over the South China Sea dispute.
The international tribunal set aside China’s nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters by ruling its invalidity.
By coming out with the ruling the Hague-based tribunal found it has jurisdiction to consider the dispute between the Philippines and China concerning historic rights and the source of maritime entitlements in the South China Sea.
“… China’s claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention,” the award read.
“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 PCA said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
The PCA also ruled that the features occupied by China in the Spratly Islands are not capable of generating maritime zones as the reefs have been heavily modified by reclamation and construction.
“Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Tribunal found that it could—without delimiting a boundary—declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,” the PCA statement read.
The court ruled China violated the Philippines’s sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, the constructing artificial islands and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.
The international tribunal also held that China interfered with the rights of Filipino fishermen by restricting access at Scarborough Shoal.
The ruling from international court was sent by email to the office of Solicitor General Jose Calida, even as it is posted on the court’s website.
In a press briefing at noon of Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella says President Duterte will await the decision in Malacañang.
He also said the Philippine government’s response to the ruling will be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Photo Credit: The Peace Palace (“Vredespaleis”), at the The Hague, seat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. H/T Wikipedia.