The Permanent Court of Arbitration on Tuesday declared that China has no legal basis to claim ‘historic rights’ over the South China Sea. China has denounced the verdict and said that the global community has no means of enforcing the judgment.
Despite China’s stand that the tribunal which has given the verdict is invalid, the Philippines brought its dispute with China to international arbitration in January 2013.
China has always claimed almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands. China has been accused of causing “severe harm to the coral reef environment” by building artificial islands in the region.
Chinese President Xi Jinping while commenting on the issue has said, “China’s territorial sovereignty and marine rights in the South China Sea will not be affected by the so-called Philippines South China Sea ruling in any way”
The USA called the verdict an “important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea”, and urged all parties to consider it “final and legally binding”
Courtiers like Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei – have been fighting over this resource-rich territory for years.
Economically the region is very important for many countries as some $5 trillion in commerce, roughly one-third of global trade, flow through the waters of the South China Sea every year.
Indian Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan said, “India has a range of interests in this region like the creation of a ‘blue’ ocean economy including protection of offshore infrastructure and maritime resources, safety of our trade and sea lanes of communication and a regionally favourable geostrategic maritime-position.”