What was the ruling in the South China Sea case?
The Hague tribunal overwhelmingly backed the Philippines in a case on the disputed waters of the South China Sea, ruling that rocky outcrops claimed by China – some of which are exposed only at low tide – cannot be used as the basis of territorial claims. It said some of the waters were “within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China”. The tribunal furthermore found China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in those waters by interfering with its fishing and petroleum exploration and by constructing artificial islands.
Reaction of China after the Tribunal Verdict?
China has said it will not accept a ruling against it in a key international legal case over strategic reefs and atolls that Beijing claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague came down overwhelmingly in favour of claims by the Philippines and is likely to increase global diplomatic pressure on Beijing to scale back military expansion in the area. By depriving certain outcrops of territorial-generating status, the ruling from the permanent court of arbitration effectively punches holes in China’s all-encompassing “nine-dash” line that stretches deep into the South China Sea.