HAGUE COURT LIMITS CHINA'S JURISDICTION IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague declared China in violation of Philippine sovereign rights in the South China Sea. The dispute was taken to the PCA in January of 2013 by the Philippines after the Chinese Navy seized Scarborough Shoal, a chain of reefs and rocks off of a Philippine island. Under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, only natural islands that can sustain human habitation would qualify for legitimate Chinese territorial jurisdiction of surrounding waters (up to 200 nautical miles in an exclusive economic zone). Instead, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled the reefs and rocks were not islands, thus placing sovereignty with the Philippines and declaring China’s claims as having no legal or historical basis. The upholding of the Philippine’s submission by the PCA is legally binding. However, Chinese officials rejected the outcome of the tribunal as lacking in jurisdiction, and had refused to participate in the arbitration process. China has been developing the region, destroying seven reefs and rocks to build artificial islands housing airstrips and radar installations. It continues to claim sovereignty over almost all reefs, rocks, and islands in the South China Sea. For the full story, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/beijing-remains-angry-defiant-and-defensive-as-key-south-china-sea-tribunal-ruling-looms/2016/07/12/11100f48-4771-11e6-8dac-0c6e4accc5b1_story.html.