Stormy waters in South China Sea ruling


Next week’s landmark ruling on the South China Sea will test the bounds of “international order” in the region, as experts warn an “altogether peaceful” resolution is becoming increasingly difficult to see.

With just days to go until the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague hands down its decision on the long-running dispute between the Philippines and China on Tuesday, the effects can already be felt.

There has been a ratcheting up of media rhetoric coming from Beijing as it conducts naval exercises, scheduled to finish the day before the ruling.

“That is very much in the view for China to be well placed to respond in the way it might want to following the ruling,” defence and strategic expert from the Australian National University, Dr John Blaxland told AAP.

“We are facing dark clouds on the horizon and it’s hard to see a path out of this that is altogether peaceful.”

The sea, which spans around 3.5 million square kilometres, is vital to Australia’s interests, carrying the majority of its trade to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.