It is likely that China’s reaction to the Hague ruling will have a negative impact on other multilateral processes
The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague against China’s claim on the South China Sea in a case brought before the court by the Philippines should prima facie have remained a bilateral matter between the litigants. In reality, however, it has become an exemplar of China’s role in the ongoing contest to determine the world order. China’s shrill and bellicose response during and after the ruling has only served to heighten alarm over Beijing’s intentions and behaviour among all the major powers, including India.
China’s attitude ranged from benign disengagement and denial of the court’s jurisdiction to rabid intimidation and downright threats. It made little effort to engage with either the PCA or to build support for its cause. Instead, it erroneously assumed that as a global power, it had earned the right to violate the very rules that it had signed up to earlier.