China loses big South China Sea case

 

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The northern  South China Sea.

China has lost an important international legal case over control of strategic reefs and atolls that it  asserts give it the right to control much of the South China Sea.  It has been rapidly militarizing some of  these features to cow other nations  with claims in the region, through which goes 30 percent of world trade in physical things.

But expansionist dictatorships have a tendency to ignore international law.

The judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague overwhelmingly favors claims by the Philippines and will intensify diplomatic pressure on Beijing to scale back military expansion in this geopolitically very sensitive area.

As The Guardian noted, “By depriving certain outcrops of territorial-generating status, the ruling effectively punches holes in China’s all-encompassing ‘nine-dash’ line that goes almost ridiculously far  into the South China Sea, far, far away from China.

China  predictably denounced the verdict, which declares large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters or in the exclusive economic zones of other countries. Xinhua, the country’s official news agency, attacked what it called  an “ill-founded” ruling that was “naturally null and void”.

The Communist Party  newspaper the People’s Daily said that the tribunal had ignored “basic truths” and “tramped” on international laws and norms. “The Chinese government and the Chinese people firmly oppose [the ruling] and will neither acknowledge it nor accept it,” it added.

The tribunal declared that “although Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other states, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources.”

To read The Guardian’s article on  this, please hit this link.

 

China puts on military show in advance of ruling on the South China Sea

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The exercises, inside a 100,000-square-kilometer zone around the disputed Paracel Islands, come ahead of a ruling expected next week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague over a long-standing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

The court will  rule on whether the Philippines  has the right to exploit waters  also claimed by China.

A ruling  could cast into doubt China’s vast claims in the region, through which about 30 percent of world trade goes through. But Beijing has refused to recognize the court’s authority.

To read The Guardian’s story on this, please hit this link.

 

South China Sea shoal may become ‘line in sand’

(June 13th, 2016) Scarborough Shoal, in the South China Sea, may be becoming a line in the sand against Chinese militaristic expansionism in that sea, most of which China claims. China seized and occupied the shoal in 2012.

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It is unclear what the United States and nations friendly to it in the region would do if China continues to seize and militarize reefs and islands in the sea.

China has warned that it might respond to an unfavorable international arbitration ruling against its claim to the “island’’ in favor of the Philippines by putting structures on the shoal to give it a military outpost very close to the Philippines’s door. Chinese Admiral Sun Jianguo says China will not accept the tribunal’s ruling, expected sometime this summer.

Speaking at a Singapore forum, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that the U.S., as an ally of the Philippines, would take action, without elaborating. Hit this link for more information.