MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam, one of China’s two toughest challengers in the South China Sea, and 4 other countries sent envoys to a historic hearing that pits Manila against Beijing.
In a news release on Tuesday, July 7, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) explained that the tribunal handling the Philippines’ case “has decided not to open the hearing to the public.”
The tribunal, however, has allowed 5 countries “to send small delegations as observers” for the hearing that began Tuesday.
The PCA, which serves as the venue for the arbitration proceedings, listed the following countries as observers: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan.
Next to the Philippines, Vietnam is the Southeast Asian country that has most actively challenged China’s claim over the South China Sea.
In fact Vietnam filed a position paper on the Philippines’ case before the PCA in December 2014. In this document, Vietnam joined the Philippines in rejecting China’s excessive claim.