How South China Sea ruling can be a ‘win-win’ for China and the world

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China reacted with predictable dismay to the arbitral ruling of the tribunal convened under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea at the request of the Philippines to resolve its disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea.
China cannot be expected to change its long-standing position on historical rights or its view that the tribunal’s decisions are “null and void”. Nonetheless, in the long-term, depending on how China and other countries react, the ruling could become what President Xi Jinping (習近平) refers to as a “win-win,” for China and the international community.

How could this be? There are potentially at least three ways: first, as one of the world’s largest trading powers, a fishing power and a growing naval power, China needs access to ocean resources beyond its own relatively limited exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The tribunal found the islets, rocks, reefs, sandbars and cays in the Spratly Islands – including, controversially, the long-inhabited Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba, recovered from wartime Japanese occupation by Taiwan in 1946 – incapable of supporting human habitation or economic life. Thus, none meet the convention’s requirements to be the basis for claims to 12-nautical-mile territorial seas, continental shelves or 200-nautical-mile EEZs.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2005642/how-south-china-sea-ruling-can-be-win-win-china-and-world

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