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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On The Hague’s South China Sea Decision

From The Wall Street Journal:
The July 12 arbitration award in the Philippines case against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) isn’t only significant for East Asia and maritime law. It will also have implications for public international law and the peaceful settlement of international disputes generally.

Until now, arbitration hasn’t enjoyed much prominence in international relations. Cannon fire, even from water cannons, makes headlines. The tragic, albeit accidental, death of a single foreign fisherman produces more television coverage.

Even important arbitration awards, such as the 2014 Unclos tribunal’s decision to award 80% of the disputed area in the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh rather than India, barely receive international media coverage at all. This helps China to argue that arbitration, like international court adjudication, is inconsistent with Asian values and not an accepted mode of peacefully settling disputes...

And indeed, China isn't at all happy about the arbitration process. According to China's official news agency Xinhua:
BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The arbitration over the South China Sea dispute unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government is in fact a celebration among rogue arbitrators, who have hidden their selfish motives under the guise of the rule of law...

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