The Philippines on Tuesday scored a victory against China in a landmark ruling by an international tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s massive claims in South China Sea.
“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 Permanent Court of Arbitration said in a news release.
“[Although] two Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other States, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources,” it added.
The 501-page ruling was handed down in The Hague, Netherlands, more than three years after the case was filed by the Philippines in January 2013.
The case hinges on the legal status of reefs, rocks and artificial islands in the Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Island group.
Manila’s 15-point case critically asks the tribunal to rule on the status of China’s so-called “nine-dash line”, a boundary that is the basis for its 69-year-old claim to roughly 85 percent of the South China Sea.
The tribunal will not decide on matters of territorial sovereignty, but will apply the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in determining which countries can claim economic exploitation rights, based on geographic features.
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