Permanent Court of Arbitration Demurs

This Hague Court has been hearing the Philippines’ complaint about the People’s Republic of China’s invasion and seizure of the South China Sea, an invasion that occurred at the direct and deliberate expense of the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and other nations rimming this Sea.  It ruled against the PRC, publishing its unanimous ruling last Tuesday.  In its essence, the Court has ruled that the PRC’s Nine-Dash Line, which the PRC used to define the extent of its manufactured historical claim…couldn’t hold water.

China’s claims to historic and economic rights in most of the South China Sea have no legal basis….

And even further,

China [isn’t] entitled to an exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, extending up to 200 nautical miles from any outcrop in the Spratlys archipelago including the largest, Itu Aba, which is claimed by China but controlled by Taiwan.

The EEZ aspect of the ruling is important in another way, too: it renders the PRC’s terraforming, including its military base building illegal.

This will have implications, too, for the legality of PRC behavior and military buildup in the Paracel Islands off the Vietnamese coast and which are claimed by Vietnam and for PRC occupation efforts in Scarborough Shoal, which are Philippine islands.

With the PRC’s Foreign Minister’s office officially rejecting the Court’s ruling, we now can expect an accelerated military buildup throughout the Sea and more aggressive behavior by the PRC’s navy and air force.

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