tribunal

International Law

UNCLOS and the South China Sea Disputes

October 1, 2018 Michelle Li 0

In summer 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague’s rule in terms of China and the Philippines’ territorial disputes in the South China Sea caught worldwide attention. According to the rule, China’s historical claim to the South China Sea, or the “nine-dash line” claim, has no legal basis. Although the tribunal urged China to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law and the Sea, or the UNCLOS, and to respect neighboring countries’ sovereignties, China replied that it “neither accepts nor recognizes” the court’s award. Almost two years after the ruling, the disputes are still far from being resolved. China has constructed a number of artificial islands in this region and deployed military facilities on them. Despite the rule, the balance of power persists between China, the Philippines, the United States and other regional powers. Several questions therefore arise: if the UNCLOS sets clearcut and undisputed rules […]