AMSTERDAM, July 12 - Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the East Vietnam Sea in a ruling that will be claimed as a victory by the Philippines.
"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the [so-called] 'nine-dash line'," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.
In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work.
China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it will not be bound by any ruling.
The Hague tribunal ruling on the East Vietnam Sea is final and legally binding, and the parties to the case are required to comply, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement shortly after the ruling.
The tribunal allowed observers from the following countries – Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan – to attend the hearings. Photo courtesy of PCA
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario delivers an opening statement. Photo courtesy of PCA
Philippine Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who serves as agent for his country, delivers a statement. Photo courtesy of PCA
The arbitral tribunal is led by Judge Thomas Mensah (president, C), the first president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The high-caliber tribunal also includes the following (L to R): Judge Jean-Pierre Cot, Judge Stanislaw Pawlak, Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum, and Professor Alfred H. A. Soons. Photo courtesy of PCA