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International Arbitration Authority Assumes Non-Existent Power To Require a Chinese Reply

International Arbitration Authority Assumes Non-Existent Power To Require a Chinese Reply

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June 4, 2014 (LPAC)–Earlier this year, the Philippines government filed a suit under the UNCLOS (UN Law of the Sea treaty) against China and its territorial claims in the South China Sea, to rule as to the sovereignty over the contested islands. Jurisdictional claims are explicitly NOT covered in the UNCLOS treaty, and furthermore, both parties must explicitly agree to arbitration over an issue before the court has any jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, China has been ordered by the international Arbitral Tribunal handling the dispute to file its counter-memorial, or counter-argument, by Dec. 15, despite its position that it will not participate in the arbitration.

“In Procedural Order No. 2, the Arbitral Tribunal fixes December 15, 2014 as the date for China to submit its Counter-Memorial responding to the Philippines’ Memorial,” the International Tribunal said in a statement posted on the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) June 3.

China has not changed its position, saying it will not participate in the arbitration proceedings. “On May 21, 2014, the PCA received a Note Verbale from China in which it reiterated its position that ‘it does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines’ and that the Note Verbale ‘shall not be regarded as China’s acceptance of or participation in the proceedings’,” the International Tribunal statement said.

The only correct procedure for the Tribunal, would have been to accept the fact that it has no jurisdiction in the case and so rule, but the pwoers that be have chosen to intensify the drama instead.

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