Bei­jing is­sues warn­ings ahead of tri­bunal de­ci­sion

South China Sea is­sue

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

ZHANG YUNBI ; HINA voiced stern warn­ings against an ar­bi­tral tri­bunal that is sched­uled to is­sue a rul­ing this month on a case raised uni­lat­er­ally by the Philip­pines about the South China Sea is­sue. Bei­jing said that the up­com­ing rul­ing may cause se­ri­ous dam­age to the in­ter­na­tional rule of law. The Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion in The Hague, act­ing as the tri­bunal registry, said on Wed­nes­day that the de­ci­sion will be an­nounced on July 12.

CThe tri­bunal was es­tab­lished un­der the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea at the Philip­pines’ re­quest. China has re­fused to be part of the ar­bi­tra­tion since it was launched in 2013, partly be­cause it says the is­sues raised by Manila are re­lated to sovereignty and mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion, which are be­yond the tri­bunal’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

Hong said the tri­bunal has no ju­ris­dic­tion over the mat­ter, as a dec­la­ra­tion made by China in 2006 ex­cludes dis­putes con­cern­ing mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion — among oth­ers — from ar­bi­tra­tion and other com­pul­sory dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures. On Thurs­day, he said the tri­bunal “cir­cum­vented the op­tional dec­la­ra­tion of ex­cep­tion that China has made in ac­cor­dance with UNCLOS; ex­panded and ex­ceeded its ju­ris­dic­tion at will; and pushed for­ward the hear­ing on the rel­e­vant sub­ject mat­ter”.

Yi Xianhe, chief ex­pert at Wuhan Univer­sity In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Law, said the tri­bunal has not fully con­sid­ered China’s view­points, and the le­gal anal­y­sis of such points has been in­suf­fi­cient. “Some of the ar­bi­tra­tors, with­out any ex­pla­na­tion, changed their pre­vi­ous po­si­tions and views (con­cern­ing China), and this has be­trayed the con­sis­tency prin­ci­ple in the in­ter­na­tional rule of law,” Yi said.

Wu said the tri­bunal has made its ju­ris­dic­tion cover all the claims and is­sues raised by the Philip­pines, adding, “In some sense, it has be­come the speaker for the Philip­pines’ in­ter­ests.” Ac­cord­ing to Padraig Lysaght, an Aus­trian his­to­rian on South China Sea stud­ies, “It is a prin­ci­ple of in­ter­na­tional law that all sides must agree on the ar­bi­tra­tion. “It is per­fectly le­gal to sim­ply not ac­cept this award (de­ci­sion). I don’t think the award can solve the prob­lem,” Lysaght told Xin­hua News Agency. Cam­bo­dian Prime Min­is­ter re­it­er­ated on Wed­nes­day that his coun­try will not support the tri­bunal’s de­ci­sion.

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