In one of the mot anticipated rulings about international law as relates to China’s claim to the rights of large portions of the South China Sea, an arbitration panel has ruled against the People’s Republic.
Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China 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 ‘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.
Most experts believe the decision will not mean much to the Chinese, so tensions about the matter will continue to boil.