Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No legal basis for China's South China Sea claims: tribunal

China has no legal basis for claiming much of the South China Sea and had aggravated the seething regional dispute with its large-scale land reclamation and construction of artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and the natural condition of the disputed areas.
The five-member panel also unanimously concluded that China had violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating the dispute while the settlement process was ongoing.
The tribunal also found that China had interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration at Reed Bank, tried to stop fishing by Philippine vessels within the country's own exclusive economic zone and failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.

China's state Xinhua news agency said China "does not accept or acknowledge" the tribunal or the ruling. China has long maintained that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction over the dispute. The ruling is binding on both countries under a U.N. treaty that both have signed, but there is no policing agency or mechanism to enforce it.
The tribunal said that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a U.N. treaty.

China, which boycotted the case, summoned its demobilized sailors and officers for training drills in new exercises that apparently started just days ago.