The South China Sea Ruling Against China: What's Really at Stake

This week’s ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration endorsing the Philippines’ claim that China’s interpretations of South China Sea maritime boundaries violate the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is being hailed in Washington as a salutary exercise in rules-based international governance—and as validation for resolute U.S. policy.

But conversations with Chinese academics, analysts, and officials suggest that the outcome may trigger backlash in Beijing against Western-backed international institutions, with potentially profound implications for multilateral management of some of the world’s biggest challenges, from forging cooperative regional security architecture in Asia to climate change. [READ MORE]

China’s Challenge to Rule of Law in Asia Will Test Next President

The recent landmark case ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague stands as a legal victory for the Philippines in their arguments against China’s claim to the seizure of the Scarborough Shoal and other atolls and rocks in the South China Sea, but it also makes clear that China has a responsibility to abide by international law.

The five-judge tribunal's unanimous decision underscores that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights over most of the sea, that it has violated international law by endangering fishing vessels and that it has failed to protect marine life. [READ MORE]

U.S. reiterates support for South China Sea arbitration, peaceful resolution

The United States on Wednesday reiterated its call for the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, in response to the setting of a date for a decision in an international court case brought by the Philippines against China.

An arbitration court hearing the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea will deliver its decision on July 12, it said in a statement on Wednesday. [READ MORE]

US Marines to Deploy Amphibious Battle Group to South China Sea

Portions of the South China Sea are contested by China, the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam, each making overlapping claims on island chains and navigation rights.

China has been constructing artificial islands on top of the coral reef habitats of the Spratly Islands, a group of more than 750 islands and reefs, over the past year. [READ MORE]

Philippines v. China: Decision to Be Released on July 12, 2016

According to a press release issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, its verdict in the arbitration between the Philippines and China will be made public on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

The Republic of Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China, the official name of the case, was initiated in January 2013 by the Philippines, following a difficult 2012 stand-off with China over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. [READ MORE]

China's Curious South China Sea Negotiation Policy

There has been a great deal of commentary recently on Beijing’s strident refusal to participate in the Philippines’ arbitration case and the almost desperate vehemence with which it is preparing to greet the tribunal’s final judgment.

This is not terribly surprising, as most analysts agree that the Philippines will win on a number of crucial points, undercutting some, if not all, of China’s maritime claims. [READ MORE]

Why China Both Loves and Fears the Rule of Law

This month, the rule of law and China’s legal profession at large have received a lot of attention.

This is out of recognition that both will be necessary to advance the country’s economic development, and yet both present a challenge to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) domination of China’s political agenda. [READ MORE]

The South China Sea Moment of Truth Is Almost Here

The Philippines’ lawfare strategy in the South China Sea disputes is inching closer to a moment of truth.

In coming weeks, an arbitral tribunal, formed under the aegis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is set to pass a final judgment on the ongoing maritime spats between China and the Philippines. [READ MORE]


Rising tensions in the South China Sea have cast a pall over many actors and issues, but not international law.

Indeed, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its mandatory dispute settlement mechanisms are arguably at the zenith of their popularity.  Some believe that the U.S. Senate may soon finally ratify a treaty that has been adhered to by both Democratic and Republican administrations. [READ MORE]

US to keep up sea patrols east of PH, says naval exec

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The United States will maintain its maritime presence in the Western Pacific, as the Philippines awaits the ruling of a UN tribunal on its maritime row with China, a senior US Navy official said here.

Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 73 of the US Navy, said nothing would change in the longstanding ties between the United States and the Philippines as both countries continued to engage in multilateral maritime exercises. [READ MORE]

Maturing the US defense relationship with Vietnam

In response to Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea, the US has buttressed front-line states’ defense capabilities in order to raise the costs of China’s maritime aggression.

To this end, President Barack Obama lifted a decades-long US arms embargo on Vietnam during his visit to Hanoi last month. Where do bilateral defense relations go from here? [READ MORE]

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