It is Beijing’s fault that China lost big in the South China Sea ruling

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The award issued last week by an arbitral tribunal sitting in The Hague can only be described as a tremendous legal victory for the Philippines over China. The tribunal, which was formed pursuant to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ruled in favor of the Philippines on 14 of 15 claims. On every issues of substance, the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines. Few experts who followed the award closely had predicted such a sweeping, one-sided result. I certainly did not.
But taking a step back after reviewing the award, perhaps I should not have been surprised. China’s legal arguments for maritime rights in the South China Sea were always weak since the Chinese mainland is much farther away than any of its neighbors. China exacerbated these weaknesses by refusing to participate in the tribunal in any way, and then launching a global public relations campaign that dramatically heightened the award’s significance in the eyes of the global media.

It is Beijing’s fault that China lost big in the South China Sea ruling

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