Why the South China Sea arbitration case matters for the Philippines 

by Minda Calaguian-Cruz / July 11, 2016/ Financial Review

As we wait for the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the proceedings initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013, we would like to bring attention to the importance of this arbitration case, not only for the parties involved, but also for the international community.

Despite its non-appearance, China is and remains a party to the arbitration and is bound under international law by any decision rendered by the tribunal.

What is at stake for the international community is the rule of law.

On October 29, 2015, the Arbitral Tribunal issued a unanimous Award of Jurisdiction and Admissibility. All Chinese arguments on jurisdiction and admissibility as contained in the position paper issued by China on December 7, 2014, and other communications were properly considered by the Arbitral Tribunal. China was given every opportunity to participate at every stage of the proceedings.

The tribunal held that China’s decision not to participate in these hearings does not deprive the tribunal of jurisdiction and that the Philippines’ decision to commence arbitration unilaterally was not an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Philippines has consistently stated that the arbitration case is not about territorial sovereignty or maritime boundary delimitations. Rather, the case is about the clarification of maritime entitlements of the parties involved which is under the jurisdiction of the tribunal. Read more…

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