Will China accept international law in the South China Sea?


The ongoing disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea are about to reach a critical point. In January 2013 the Philippines activated procedures under Article 287 and Annex VII of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) over a dispute about the validity of China’s ‘nine-dash line’ in the South China Sea. The Philippines contests the validity of this line and any attempts by China to assert sovereignty or sovereign rights over islands and other maritime features found within this area.

But will China accept the Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the Philippines’ claim?

In 2006 China made a Declaration under Article 298 of UNCLOS indicating that it did not accept certain compulsory dispute resolution procedures under Part XV of the convention, including disputes with respect to ‘historic bays or titles’. This raises issues as to whether elements of China’s disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea would fall within this exception. It is currently unclear precisely what the historic titles that China asserts in the South China Sea are.

On 19 February 2013 China also indicated that it would not participate in the Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal proceedings. China further reiterated its position on 1 August 2013 when it submitted a note verbale to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which is the registry for the proceedings, indicating that ‘it does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines’ and that it will not be participating in the proceedings.


Read more: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/12/15/china/will-china-accept-international-law-south-china-sea