South China Sea Ruling: Who’s Taking Sides?

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Support for China’s Position Appears Reduced Post-Verdict
South China Sea dispute has implications for shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

China appears to have lost support for its legal positions in the South China Sea dispute since an arbitration panel in the Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in a case brought against China over claims in the South China Sea on July 12.

That’s the main conclusion of a recently released report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a project of the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

China claims exclusive territorial rights over most of the area as defined by the so-called nine-dash line that the Chinese draw on maps to delineate their claims.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the areas claimed.

China boycotted the hearings and, within hours of the verdict, announced that its rejection of the court’s decision. This despite the fact that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which China has signed, provides for a compulsory dispute settlement process.

Which countries recognize the decision as legally binding on both parties? The answer, notes the AMTI report, “will determine its ultimate value, as international pressure is the court’s only enforcement mechanism.”

South China Sea Ruling: Who’s Taking Sides?

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