What was this case?
Manila complained in 2013 after Beijing seized a reef about 225km from the Philippine coast. Manila rejected Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over waters within a “nine-dash line” appearing on Chinese maps. These dashes encircle 90% of South China Sea, an area the size of Mexico vital to global trade, rich in natural resources.
What does international law say?
Manila complained under the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea ratified by both nations. It says a country has sovereignty over waters 12 nautical miles from its coast, control over economic activities in waters on its continental shelf and up to 200 nautical miles from its coast. China’s nine-dash line includes waters beyond these zones. Beijing cites “historical evidence” to support it. Convention includes exceptions for historic rights. Manila rejects claim1947 China demarcates South China Sea territorial claims with 11-dash line. In 1953, Gulf of Tonkin erased, making it a nine-dash line U994 The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea goes into effect after 60 countries ratify it. The Philippines joins convention in 1984, and China in 1996. 2016 Arbitration panel announces decision favouring the Philippines
What does China say?
China has boycotted the tribunal saying it has no jurisdiction because sovereignty of reefs, rocks and islands in South China Sea is disputed
Why was this case important?
Besides China and the Philippines. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia. Taiwan and Vietnam claim parts of South China Sea. Tuesday’s ruling sets a precedent on such disputes. China had the most at stake, for it has transformed reefs into artificial islands with military runways and naval harbours
Why does China care so much?
China wants to push the US out of the Western Pacific. It depends on shipping I routes in the region, and is eager to ir lay claim to oil and resources to fuel its economy
1995 China takes control of Mischief Reef. Manila protests 1997 Filipino navy prevents Chinese boats from approaching Scarborough Shoal, China protests. Philippines detains Chinese fishermen for alleged illegal fishing 2009 China submits nine-dash line map to UN, stating it “has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea”
2015 The Hague panel rules in October it has jurisdiction over seven of 15 claims raised by the Philippines. China does not participate. 2014 Manila summons China’s top envoy to protest the firing of a water cannon by a Chinese vessel to drive away Filipino fishermen
2013 The Philippines takes dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, angering Beijing
2011 Manila protests after a ship searching for oil and gas near the Spratly Islands complains of Chinese harassment
2012 China seizes Scarborough Shoal after standoff with Philippine navy