South China Sea Ruling: China Plots Next Move

South China Sea Ruling: China Plots Next Move
Peace Palace Karen Rustad / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Now that the UN international tribunal in The Hague has finally ruled over the case filed by the Philippines concerning the maritime dispute in South China Sea, China meanwhile is now plotting its next move.


But international experts say China will not be sitting idly as the world awaits its next move. In fact, Wim Muller of the International Law Programme at policy institute Chatham House in London told CNBC News that China would respond as the world expects it would.

The UN-backed tribunal in The Hague, which heard the case filed by the Philippines against China in 2013, ruled in favor of the Philippines. The court basically declared China’s position in the region as illegal and violates some of South East Asian countries’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), including the Philippines’.

To support its claim, China said it has historical claims over the vast maritime zone. The claim was ultimately junked by the court in an 11-page decision released Tuesday.

Like us on Facebook

“China will respond at different levels to the ruling of the … tribunal, ranging from crude propaganda to highly sophisticated. It will be tempting for the official press to spin it into the old narrative in which a U.S.- and Western-dominated tribunal is rigged against China and therefore lacks any legitimacy,” Muller told CNBC News.

Minutes after the court issued the much-anticipated decision on Tuesday, China, through its state-run media outlet Xinhua, junked the court’s decision, saying it was null, void, and has no binding force.

The court declared China’s nine-dash-rule illegal and in violation of international law. But China has reiterated that it has no intention of recognizing the court’s ruling. The Chinese government also blamed the Philippines in initiating the case, which according to them, could threaten the peace and stability in the region.

Also Read: South China Sea July 12 Ruling: The Hague Favors Philippines

Want to get updates on South China Sea dispute? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


  • britbob

    The findings by the Hague tribunal contain a series of criticisms of China’s actions and claims. The court declares 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.
    “The tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”

    Although China will complain this judgment was expected and falls into line with similar judgments made by the PCA/ICJ.

    Another case that supports this view of effective sovereignty is relevant is the Minquiers and Ecrehos Case, France/UK of 17th November 1953. In this case both the UK and France had requested the ICJ to determine which country held sovereignty over the uninhabited Islets and rocks in the Minquiers and Ecrehos. France had claimed sovereignty because of historic sovereignty going back to the Dutchy of Normandy in the 11th century while the UK claimed that Jersey had historically exercised administrational jurisdiction on them. The Court decided that in the absence of valid treaty provisions, they considered the argument that the British government has exercised effective control to be superior, so that sovereignty control over the Minquiers and Ecrehos belonged to the UK. (the UK had protested to the French government when a French national had intended to build a house on one of the islats and any deaths occurring on the islets were dealt with by inquests held on Jersey). ICJ Minquiers & Ecrehos Judgment, 17 Nov 1953, p28, paras 6 & 12.
    The ICJ has already determined at an earlier tribunal that No delimitation between states with opposite or adjacent coasts may be affected unilaterally by one of those states. And , The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between states with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be affected by agreement on the basis of international law… So the latest PCA judgment comes as no surprise.
    For that and some other interesting judgments on territorial seas and to gain an understanding as to how the world court deals with such disputes Google: ”Falklands – Territorial Waters Academia” Or use link:-