Tribunal rejects Chinese claims in South China Sea

Press release of the PCA ruling can be found here. You can also download the full ruling (~500 pages).

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hauge, the Netherlands today ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case again China over its territorial claims in South China Sea. The tribunal found “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.” The nine-dash line is what the PRC uses to mark its territories and accounts for about 90% of South China Sea.


The nine-dash line evolved from the eleven-dash line, which was what ROC used to mark its territories in South China Sea when it was first established. ROC technically still claims islands within South China Sea as its territories, although in reality, Taiwan only has control of Itsu Aba/Taiping Island and the Prata/Dongsha Islands.

In the ruling, PCA not only refutes China’s territorial claims, but also ruled most of the features in South China Sea are rocks, entitled to 12 nautical mile territorial sea, instead of islands, entitled to 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone. PCA ruled that Itsu Aba/Taiping Island is not an island, but a rock. Taiwan Presidential Office released a statement stating that it will not accept the PCA ruling and the ruling is not legally binding towards Taiwan, which was not a party of the arbitration case and was referred to as “Taiwan Authority of China” in the full ruling.


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