Phl lead counsel: China to lose influence if it defies tribunal’s decision


FILE – In this Friday, April 17, 2015 file photo, protesters display placards during a rally at the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines to protest moves by China in “fortifying” its claims at the disputed Spratlys Islands in the South China Sea. China’s campaign of island building in the South China Sea might soon quadruple the number of airstrips available to the People’s Liberation Army in the highly contested and strategically vital region. That could be bad news for other regional contenders, especially the U.S., the Philippines and Vietnam. AP/Bullit Marquez, File
MANILA, Philippines – China might lose its influence over smaller states if it will defy the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the arbitration case regarding the South China Sea dispute, according to the Philippines’s lead counsel in the case.

Manila lead counsel Paul Reichler said in an interview with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative that China is expected to “vent quite a bit” if the tribunal sides with the Philippines.

“By defying a judgment, particularly if it’s a unanimous judgment, particularly if it’s well-reasoned, if it’s well-explained and if it is understood and supported by the international community… China will be branded… an international outlaw state,” Reichler said.

Reichler added that this would cause a “loss of prestige” and loss of influence, particularly over Southeast Asian nations.

The international lawyer, however, noted that China’s initial reaction might not be its final reaction.

“There is a strong possibility that China will look for a way to save face and accommodate itself of the judgment not only of the arbitral tribunal but the international community,” the lawyer said.

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