Is the playing down of arbitration ruling a boon or bane for PHL?


The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), at a recently-concluded summit in Vientiane, Laos, was again silent about the July 12 landmark ruling of a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal that favored the Philippines and rejected China’s excessive claim over the South China Sea.

It was an expected move because China, which exercises clout and influence among some ASEAN members, has opposed efforts to mention the ruling and bring the disputes to any international fora.

China instead demands that disputes be settled one-on-one between Beijing and other claimant states without intervention from outside forces, like the United States.

The ASEAN decides by consensus, meaning that even just one of its 10-member countries, has the capacity to block a decision or proposal.

Among the regional bloc’s key issues is the addressing of maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Four ASEAN’s members — Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei — are embroiled in overlapping claims with neighboring China.

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