Admiralty & Maritime Law: The South China Sea Ruling
Ruling Issued
A landmark verdict on July 12th delivered by a little known international court in The Hague rejected Beijing's claims to the South China Sea. The judges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued a press release outlining its ruling and award. The PCA ruled that China's claims have no legal or historical basis. The South China Sea has long been of symbolic and strategic importance to China and after the verdict Cui Tiankai responded "It will certainly undermine and weaken the motivation of states to engage in negotiations and consultations for solving their disputes" and added "It will certainly intensify conflict and even confrontation."

PCA History
On 22 January 2013, the Republic of the Philippines instituted arbitral proceedings against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, “with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.”

On 19 February 2013, China presented a Note Verbale to the Philippines in which it described “the Position of China on the South China Sea issues,” and rejected and returned the Philippines’ Notification.

Top Story:

The Hague threw out Beijing's '9-dash line' in the South China Sea ruling

In a highly anticipated ruling, a Hague-based international tribunal found that Beijing's so-called
nine-dash line of its territorial claims in the South China Sea had no legal basis. The tribunal also ruled on Tuesday that Beijing had violated international law by "causing severe harm to the coral reef environment."

The Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a 500-page unanimous ruling in Republic of Philippines v. People's Republic of China, a case brought by the Philippines in 2013.
Business Insider July 12, 2016

This Week:
China scores victory as Asean goes easy over sea row
Southeast Asian nations yesterday ducked direct criticism of Beijing over its claims to the South China Sea, in a diluted statement produced after days of disagreement that gives the superpower a diplomatic victory. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) avoided mention of a ruling by a UN-backed tribunal that rejected China’s claims and infuriated Beijing.
The Daily Tribune Headlines on Jul 25, 2016
The day after: Enforcing The Hague verdict in the South China Sea
It was an unequivocal rebuke of China’s expansive maritime claims and increasingly assertive posturing in adjacent waters. An arbitral tribunal, constituted under Article 287, Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), handed the Philippines a landmark victory against its giant neighbor. Most experts anticipated a favorable outcome, but few predicted its breadth. Not only did the tribunal exercise jurisdiction on almost all of the Philippines’ arguments, it also ruled favorably on the most thorny and consequential items, particularly China’s doctrine of "historic rights."
Brookings Latest News on Jul 25, 2016
China Ally Cambodia Blocks Statement on South China Sea Ruling
Southeast Asian nations failed to agree on maritime disputes in the South China Sea on Sunday after Cambodia blocked any mention to an international court ruling against Beijing in their statement, diplomats said.

Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met for the first time since the U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration handed an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines in the dispute this month.

Newsweek on Jul 24, 2016
ASEAN Split on How to Deal With China in South China Sea Row
Southeast Asia's main grouping made a last-ditch attempt to reach a consensus on countering China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea, but their deadlock appeared far from being resolved as minutes ticked by before a critical meeting with the Chinese foreign minister Monday.

The foreign ministers of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held three rounds of talks on Sunday, and an emergency post-breakfast session on Monday ahead of a scheduled meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Google News - Top Stories on Jul 24, 2016
China removed missiles from South China Sea islands ahead of UN verdict - Times of India
China has removed its new generation surface-to-air missiles from a disputed island in the South China Sea after US withdrew its aircraft carrier ahead of a landmark verdict by an UN-backed tribunal, a media report said on Saturday.

The images from Airbus Defence and Space showed a battery of HQ-9 missiles was removed from Woody Island before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected Beijing's claims over the South China Sea, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted IHS Janes Defence magazine as reporting citing satellite images.

Google News - Top Stories on Jul 23, 2016
This photo tells us a lot about China's view of the South China Sea ruling
While Manila triumphed over Beijing in a historic legal decision last week, the fight in the South China Sea is far from over.

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a 500-page unanimous ruling in Republic of Philippines v. People's Republic of China and found that Beijing had violated the Philippines' economic and sovereign rights.

The court concluded there was no legal basis for China's nine-dash line territorial claim, which encompasses approximately 85% of the South China Sea.

The Business Insider - Military & Defense on Jul 21, 2016
South China Sea verdict will never be accepted by the world: experts
The South China Sea arbitration verdict will never be accepted by the international community, experts attending a seminar in Singapore said on Tuesday.

At a briefing following Monday's Think Tank Seminar on the South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development, Director General Wang Lei from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ (CASS) Bureau of International Cooperation said that experts at the seminar discussed ways to settle and solutions to maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as well as overall regional cooperation and development.

People's Daily Online on Jul 21, 2016
Taiwan Angry Over "Rock" Ruling
By Reuters 2016-07-20 01:04:43 Five Taiwanese fishing boats set sail for Taiwan's sole holding in the South China Sea on Wednesday in protest against a court ruling that deems it a rock rather than an island, limiting its rights to surrounding resource-rich waters. Festooned with Taiwan flags, the fishing boats, ...
Maritime Executive on Jul 21, 2016
In South China Sea case, ruling on environment hailed as precedent
The Hague tribunal said China's harm to coral reefs violates environmental provisions of the Law of the Sea, a ruling seen as having a lasting impact on protecting the ocean.
Christian Science Monitor Latest News on Jul 20, 2016
A tiny Japanese island may complicate the recent ruling in the South China Sea
At nine square meters, Japan’s southernmost “island” of Okinotori has in the past drawn little attention. However, given the recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, it may come under scrutiny by other nations, namely China.

According to Forbes contributor Ralph Jennings, Japan has thus far spent $600 million on reinforcing the island with cement and steel breakwaters — even going so far as to grow coral around the area. Located 1,700 kilometers south of Tokyo, it contains several key elements for Japan’s naval activity, such as a three-level observatory that’s able to scan for ships.

The Business Insider - Military & Defense on Jul 20, 2016
The PCA ruling, Australia and Timor-Leste
The Hague tribunal decision last week in the South China Sea case will have far reaching implications, finding that any ‘historic rights’ China claimed within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of other states were extinguished by UNCLOS itself, and China's subsequent ratification of the treaty in 1996.

Despite some claims to the contrary, China’s stated refusal to accept the decision does not signal that the UNCLOS framework is unsuitable to solving complex maritime disputes. On the contrary, as Robert Beckman, head of the Ocean Law & Policy Programme at the NUS Centre for International Law argues, this authoritative decision will likely influence government legal advisers and negotiators for years to come.

The Interpreter Australia on Jul 20, 2016
Beijing to hold South China Sea war games after ruling
Beijing will close off access to part of the South China Sea for military drills, officials said Monday, after an international tribunal ruled against its sweeping claims in the waters.

An area off the east coast of China’s island province of Hainan will host military exercises from Tuesday to Thursday, China’s maritime administration said on its website, adding that entrance was “prohibited”.

Intellasia on Jul 19, 2016
Navy Leaders Meet Amidst South China Sea Friction
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson met with People's Liberation Army (Navy) Commander Adm. Wu Shengli on July 18 at navy headquarters in Beijing. The goal of the engagement was to improve mutual understanding and encourage professional interaction between the two navies at a time when tensions are high in the South China Sea.
Maritime Executive on Jul 19, 2016
China escalates tension in South China Sea
Beijing has sent the US a message in the skies above the South China Sea: Anything you can do, we can do too. It has just flown a nuclear-capable bomber over Scarborough Shoal.
The United States has conducted several B-52 bomber “freedom of navigation” flights over the contested waterway in recent months, along with flights by surveillance and patrol aircraft.
Beijing on Friday returned the favor.

The Daily Tribune Headlines on Jul 18, 2016
back to top