Over the past three years, the Philippines have fought with China over the highly contested area in the South China Sea in a territorial dispute it filed before the UN Permanent Court of Justice in The Hague.
But since day one, China has stood to its ground, saying it has no intention whatsoever in participating in the same proceeding nor it would honor the decision of the court regardless of its outcome.
Apart from the Philippines and China, which are the main parties to the dispute, the entire world has been waiting for the decision since the court acquired jurisdiction over the case in October 2015.
The Verdict on South China Sea Dispute
As expected, the UN tribunal in The Hague has ruled in favor of the Philippines denouncing China’s self-imposed and self-recognize nine-dash-line – rendering China’s territorial claim unfounded. The nine-dash-line rule by China overlaps with other exclusive economic zone (EZZ) of different Asian nations in the region including that of Vietnam and the Philippines. The court’s has only issued an official statement as of this posting and no press briefing released yet.
The EZZ is a territorial delineation honored by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which, China is one of the signatory countries. Whether or not China is going to recognize or heed the court’s ruling is still up to China, especially since the court’s decision is not binding and it has already been ignored in the past.
Global Significance of the South China Sea July 12 Ruling
Although China remained adamant and firm in snubbing the court’s decision the case has a global importance. The court’s recent ruling does not only affect the Philippines, which is the main proponent or claimant in the vast South China Sea.
It is because at least $5 trillion of goods passes through to what is considered as one of the most important maritime zones in the world. On top of its economic importance, the vast maritime zone also plays an important role in the world’s geopolitical situation.
Even before the issuance of the ruling, China has issued its own Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the vast sea, as previously reported by Morning News USA. With the court’s decision, the question now is whether how this landmark ruling would change the landscape in the region in the next months.