Taiwan enters South China Sea legal fray, as group seeks to sway international court


HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) – A Taiwanese group has intervened in the Philippines’ international court case against China’s claims in the South China Sea, pressing Taipei’s position that Taiwan is entitled to a swathe of the disputed waterway as an economic zone.

The unusual submission has emerged just as judges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague are poised to rule on the Philippines’ landmark case, brought under the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The move could delay the judges’ ruling, now expected within two months, and potentially complicates worsening territorial disputes roiling across the vital trade route.

Last month, the judges allowed written evidence from the government-linked Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law, even though Taiwan is neither a member of the United Nations, nor a signatory to UNCLOS, legal and diplomatic sources told Reuters.

As well as reviewing several hundred pages of evidence from Taiwan, the judges have also sought further information from the Philippines and China, legal sources close to the case say.