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Beijing rejects adverse international ruling on South China Sea islands and maritime space

Wednesday, July 13th 2016 - 02:30 UTC
Full article 16 comments

China has firmly rejected an international tribunal ruling that its claims to rights in the South China Sea have no legal basis. President Xi Jinping said China's “territorial sovereignty and marine rights” in the seas would not be affected by the ruling “in any way”, however he added that Beijing was still “committed to resolving disputes” with its neighbors. Read full article


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  • Skip

    Massive blow to China!

    Was nice to see.

    Jul 13th, 2016 - 06:40 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Merry Englander

    “Massive blow”. Not really. That the ruling would go against China was a foregone conclusion. I don't think the Chinese thought for a second that UNCLOS would buy their fanciful claim.

    The ruling gives China the opportunity to show that they are top dog in the China Sea and they make the rules. Not the ICJ, not UNCLOS, but China.

    Jul 13th, 2016 - 08:10 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    It would appear that China is worried about the vulnerability of it's land based ICBM'S. To counter this, they are now developing ballistic missile submarines which presumably will be based on Hainan island.
    These subs. will need deep water exits to the Pacific and Indian oceans free of interference from it's neighbours and the USA. The deep water of the S.China sea will give them this.
    Claiming the South China Sea and the small islands will effectively give them control of the whole area enabling their subs. to transit the area under the protection of these “island”bases.
    I don't think they will give up their plans because of an adverse ruling by UNCLOS.
    Only the USA has the naval power to challenge China in this area. What happens next remains to be seen.

    Jul 13th, 2016 - 10:04 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    The Chin have become more aggressive in recent years and have had their eyes on being able to develop their own submarine which needs to beat a US submarine in terms of cloaking (being undetectable up to the point of firing a torpedo or a missile).

    Good luck on that one.

    Jul 13th, 2016 - 11:07 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Mendoza Canadian


    Jul 13th, 2016 - 12:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @3. Did you notice that the ruling was made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration? Nothing to do with UNCLOS, except that it is the relevant Convention.

    It's an interesting situation. Reminds me of argieland. That also cast aside or ignored anything that got in the way.

    According to research, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were ratified by China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

    Is China going to withdraw from those Conventions? If it does, it will definitely brand itself a “rogue” state. Might it be decided that those Conventions no longer apply to China or Chinese nationals?

    Perhaps someone could research the ramifications.

    Jul 13th, 2016 - 02:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • g2h3w

    The court itself is illicit; it does not has the jurisdiction. Arbitration should be made on the premise that both parties agree to enter the arbitration proceedings.
    A thief steals your property, and he has bribed judges in a arbitration court. Now he wants you to enter arbitration proceedings in this court. Will you agree?! This thief is the Philippines. According to Treaty of Paris (1898) signed by Spain and US, the Philippine boundary line is 118 degrees east longitude, which does not include the islands and rocks it now claims.

    For almost two thousands years before the western colonization in Asia, China is the only country capable of deep sea and ocean sailing, navigation, and fishing; those who are interested can google “Zhenghe,” whose grand feet of navigation was leading in the world then.

    On the other hand, almost all the kings of Southeast Asian countries of that time were vassals of the Chinese emperor. Their legitimacy was acquired only after the approval of the Chinese emperor. Someone may say this is the eastern imperialism. Well, let's put aside the imperial thins aside. After the western powers colonized the southeastern countries of Asia, China has never pledged it abandoned its maritime territories. Now how can these southeastern countries make claims to China?

    Jul 15th, 2016 - 12:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Maybe you could enlighten us on what exactly are the boundaries that China claim as their waters in the S.China sea giving exact coordinates of LAT. north and south LONG.east and west.
    By the way are you a Renault Clio ? Your g2h 3w corresponds to that registration

    Jul 15th, 2016 - 07:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @g2h3w Renaut Clio
    The tribunal is based on UNCLOS which the PRC took part in negotiating and ratified in 1996. It defined territorial waters as 12 miles from the coast and allowed countries to claim an exclusive economic zone of a further 200 miles. If China doesn't agree with this perhaps it should not have signed up to abide by the treaty.

    Of course none of these laws existed in 1898, so what the treaty of Paris says is irrelevant, and so are China's claims based on it's past imperial expansion. Several nearby European countries were once colonies of Spain, but Spain does not try to claim any maritime territory as a result, and would be laughed at if it tried.

    Jul 17th, 2016 - 10:34 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 9 DemonTree

    So what about Spain and the claim that Gibraltar does not have any sea at all?

    Jul 17th, 2016 - 12:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    AFAIK it is somewhat similar. The treaty of Utrecht does not give Gibraltar any territorial waters as the concept wasn't widespread at the time. UNCLOS which Spain signed in 1984 might be interpreted to give those rights to Gibraltar, but Spain stated when it signed up that it does not recognise them in that instance.

    Presumably either Spain or the UK could ask for arbitration the same way the Philippines did, but neither has. We can only guess the reasons why.

    Jul 17th, 2016 - 10:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    Spain can have made as many reservations as she liked about Gibraltar when she signed UNCLOS. But, you don't get to 'cherry-pick which parts of international law you will comply with.
    The Canada–France Maritime Boundary Case concerning Saint Pierre and Miquelon resolved a similar problem even though the original treaties had not addressed the question of territorial waters. The boundaries of the 1992 EEZ resolution between Canada and France.–France_Maritime_Boundary_Case

    Jul 18th, 2016 - 05:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    True; I assume the point of the reservations was to allow arbitration at a later date, since otherwise Britain could say it had agreed by default.

    Apparently Spain's claim is that the Treaty of Utrecht says “the above-named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any territorial jurisdiction”, and that no territorial jurisdiction implies no territorial waters. I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea what any court would make of this.

    That French EEZ is the most ridiculous shape! It's also quite funny that both the French and the Canadian representative disagreed with the tribunal's decision.

    Jul 18th, 2016 - 08:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    13 DemonTree
    “No territorial jurisdiction implies no territorial waters.” Not at all, otherwise that very issue would have been raised in the Saint Pierre and Miquelon case by Canada.

    Jul 18th, 2016 - 10:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    I didn't think there was any such clause in the treaties about Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

    Why do you think the UK has not asked for arbitration like the Philippines did? Spain would surely be far less able to ignore a decision against them than China is.

    Jul 18th, 2016 - 11:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Terence Hill

    5 DemonTree
    ”In 1992, a maritime boundary dispute with Canada over the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone belonging to France was settled by the International Court of Arbitration. In the decision, France kept the 12 nautical mile (NM) (22.2 km) territorial sea surrounding the islands and was given an additional 12 NM (22.2 km) contiguous zone as well as a 10.5 NM (19.4 km) wide corridor stretching 200 NM (370 km) south.“
    Even though no specific ”territorial sea” was originally defined in Treaty of Paris (1763), the only reference to the sea was in the context of 'fishing rights'. So that is exactly the point, that 'territorial waters' are recognized under international law, regardless of whether or not they were specified in the originating treaty.

    Jul 19th, 2016 - 02:34 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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