China has been under withering political and legal attack for allegedly violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Although at the recent meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei, Beijing declared its willingness to discuss a code of conduct for the South China Sea, there has been no change in its maritime claims or any let-up in the criticism it is receiving.
What are the consequences if China simply gets “fed up” with the criticism and withdraws from the treaty?
China ratified it in 1996. But rival claimants in the South China Sea and their supporters have alleged that China’s nine-dashed-line claim is not compatible with the treaty. Now the Philippines, with tacit US support, has filed a complaint against China with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, established by the convention. However, China has refused to participate.