Nov. 2 (EIRNS)–The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, set up in 1899, ruled on Oct. 29 that it does have jurisdiction over the case brought by the Philippines, without the participation of China, against China’s so-called “nine-dash line” claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including the contested islands.
China has rejected the Court’s jurisdiction on the grounds that it cannot judge issues of sovereignty. But the Philippines shaped the argument around its right to exploit the area within their 200-mile “exclusive economic zone” under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (which obviously implies that China has no sovereignty over the islands within that 200 mile zone). China says it will continue its refusal to participate on hearings on the merits, and will ignore the final ruling.
The court’s rulings are supposedly binding for the 117 members, which includes China and the Philippines; but it has no power to enforce, and Reuters reports that countries have ignored them in the past.
Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters: “The result of this arbitration will not impact China’s sovereignty, rights or jurisdiction over the South China Sea under historical facts and international law. From this ruling you can see the Philippines’ aim in presenting the case is not to resolve the dispute. Its aim is to deny China’s rights in the South China Sea and confirm its own rights in the South China Sea.”