CHEAT SHEET: What you need to know about PH-China case

Paterno Esmaquel II
To help you navigate the issues better, Rappler compiles key stories revolving around the Philippines' case against China over the West Philippine Sea

HISTORIC CASE. The Philippine delegation presents its arguments against China before an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, in November 2015. Photo from the Permanent Court of Arbitration

MANILA, Philippines – The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, is set to announce a historic ruling on the Philippines’ case against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) on Tuesday, July 12.

What do you need to know about Manila’s case against Beijing?

To help you navigate the issues better, Rappler compiled key stories revolving around the Philippines’ case against China in The Hague. You may click the titles in orange, which will lead you to the story pages.

We begin our compilation with articles in April 2012, when a standoff between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) brought Philippine-China relations to its lowest point in history.

We end with stories days before the tribunal in The Hague issues its ruling, now under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

We have divided the stories below into 3 categories: explainers, Thought Leaders pieces, and timeline articles.

Bookmark and refresh this page for updates.

EXPLAINERS 

Scarborough Shoal according to Manila, Beijing – April 21, 2012

Who owns Panatag Shoal? It depends, based on position papers released by the Philippine and Chinese governments. 

Why China calls it Huangyan Island – April 27, 2012

China calls Panatag Shoal an island to benefit its territorial claims, an expert says.

Why China prefers Arroyo over Aquino – July 24, 2012 

China sees then president Benigno Aquino III as “provocative” and his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as “receptive,” according to the International Crisis Group.

‘West Philippine Sea’ now official: So what? – September 12, 2012

Then president Benigno Aquino III orders the use of the name “West Philippine Sea” in a move to popularize the name and eventually urge the world to adopt it.

Grounded ship is Philippines’ last line of defense – May 23, 2013

“A handful of marines living on a World War II-era ship that is grounded on a remote, tiny reef is the Philippines’ last line of defense” in the West Philippine Sea, Agence France-Presse reports.

Top Philippine judge uses Chinese maps vs China – June 10, 2014 

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court uses China’s favorite pieces of evidence – its ancient maps – against the Asian giant itself.

Q and A: Case vs China ‘not enough,’ expert says – August 19, 2014

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says the legal track “has always been not enough” to settle the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Rough seas: Will Philippine ‘lawfare’ work vs China? – December 15, 2014

Legal and foreign affairs experts say the outcome of the Philippines’ arbitration case is uncertain, and Manila must work harder on diplomatic and military tracks.

China reclamation poses P4.8-B economic loss for Philippines – April 23, 2015

The Philippine fisheries bureau says China’s reclamation in 5 reefs in the Spratlys has buried 311 hectares of coral reefs – 5 times the size of Rizal Park in Manila.

Rappler Talk: Making China follow the rule of law – July 6, 2015 

Rappler talks to Antonio Carpio, senior associate justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, about how the Philippines will fare against China in the two countries’ maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines vs China at The Hague: ‘80% of fish’ at stake – July 7, 2015 

The Philippines pursues its case in The Hague with a practical issue at stake: the Philippines’ right to fish in the West Philippine Sea.

EXPLAINER: Philippines’ 5 arguments vs China – July 9, 2015

In a nutshell, Rappler explains the Philippines’ 5 arguments in its historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea.

PH lawyer vs China: ‘Giant slayer’ who defeated US – July 10, 2015

Rappler profiles Paul Reichler, the Philippines’ chief counsel in its case against China over the West Philippine Sea.

Aquino legacy: Defying China – July 14, 2015

Was it a mistake to involve the US in the Scarborough Shoal standoff? Rappler gets the inside story to understand how the Philippines decided to file its historic case against China.

China’s artificial islands now a third of Manila City – July 30, 2015

In the West Philippine Sea, China is building artificial islands the size of nearly 1,800 soccer fields combined.

Aquino: The president who brought China to court – June 29, 2016

Rappler looks back at then president Benigno Aquino III’s decision to file a historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea

Philippines vs China: Which countries support Beijing? – July 9, 2016 

Most of China’s 8 public supporters come from Africa, a continent to which China has pledged billions of dollars in aid.

THOUGHT LEADERS 

What’s at stake in our case vs China – March 9, 2014

“China’s rulers today have transformed China into the imperialistic hegemon that Deng Xiaoping asked the Chinese people and the world to fight and overthrow,” writes Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court.

Power play in the South China Sea – July 8, 2015

“The world is watching. It’s the next step in the geopolitical calculus of power that includes the world’s hot spots from Crimea, Syria and the South China Sea,” Maria Ressa says.

Breaking down the Philippines’ legal victory in the South China Sea – November 1, 2015

“By unanimously voting in favor of exercising jurisdiction on the Philippines’ case, the Arbitral Tribunal effectively rejected Beijing’s efforts to sabotage Manila’s laudable legal effort,” Richard Javad Heydarian explains.

Why the US will fight for ‘freedom of navigation’ in the South China Sea – June 14, 2016

“Freedom of navigation is a cardinal principle of the US and it is the key reason why Washington would fight for the idea in the South China Sea or anywhere else in the world’s oceans,” Rene Pastor writes.

Dear Digong: Let’s leverage our West Philippine Sea arbitration case – June 15, 2016

“The Duterte administration should be very careful in any prospective bilateral negotiation in the future, which is indispensable but should be unconditional,” says Richard Javad Heydarian.

The danger of Duterte’s China and South China Sea approach – July 8, 2016

“We need to be clear about the risks and why they may matter,” Prashanth Parameswaran says.

The moment of truth in the West Philippine Sea – July 10, 2016

“What is at stake is not only regional security in Asia, which has been heavily undermined by the increased militarization of territorial disputes, but also shared access to global commons in accordance to modern international law,” explains Richard Javad Heydarian.

TIMELINE PIECES 

Philippine Navy in standoff with Chinese ships – April 11, 2012

The Philippine Navy monitors 10 Chinese ships stationed at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines, China, and Scarborough Shoal – December 9, 2012

Rappler recounts the months after the standoff in Panatag Shoal, and explains the significance of this uninhabited rocky outcrop.

Philippines files arbitration case vs China – January 22, 2013

The Philippines files a historic arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines slaps China with 8 facts vs ‘baseless’ claims – July 5, 2013

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issues a point-by-point refutation of China’s claims.

China offers PH ‘carrot’ to quit case – February 26, 2014 

China moves to stop the Philippines from filing its written pleading on its case over the West Philippine Sea, sources say.

China harasses Philippine ship before pleading day – April 2, 2014 

Two Chinese ships harass a Philippine vessel a day before the Philippines submits its historic pleading against China over the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines strikes back, files pleading vs China – March 30, 2014

The Philippines submits a 4,000-page pleading, called a memorial, to an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Philippines shows ‘destabilizing’ China moves in Spratlys – May 15, 2014 

The Philippines releases photos to prove China’s island-building activities in the West Philippine Sea.

Tribunal orders China to answer Philippines’ pleading – June 4, 2014

The tribunal handling the Philippines’ case orders China to respond to the Philippines’ memorial not later than December 15, 2014. 

China: Philippine legal case weak on jurisdiction – December 7, 2014 

China releases a position paper a week before the December 15 deadline for its response to the Philippines’ memorial.

IN PHOTOS: China’s artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea – February 26, 2015

The Philippines wants a “status quo ante” ruling in its case against China, so it would tear down its developments in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

IN PHOTOS: China’s creeping expansion – June 18, 2015

China has reclaimed from the West Philippine Sea a total of 383 hectares in 7 of its occupied reefs there, aerial photos show.

Philippines vows to smash China’s strongest argument – July 6, 2015

This is China’s toughest claim: The arbitral tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, has no right to hear the Philippines’ case.

Philippines in full force on 1st day in The Hague – July 8, 2015

The Philippines comes out in full force on the first day of its oral hearings in The Hague, The Netherlands, over its historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea. 

Philippines wins round 1 in historic case vs China – October 30, 2015

In a round one victory for the Philippines, a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal at The Hague, in the Netherlands, unanimously decides it has the right to hear Manila’s historic case against Beijing over the West Philippine Sea. 

Philippines vs China: Round 2 in The Hague set November 24-30 – November 10, 2015

This is the oral hearing on the merits of the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China over the West Philippine Sea.

Powerhouse Philippine team vs China back in The Hague – November 24, 2015

Led by Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, the Philippines’ powerhouse team against China returns to The Hague to defend Manila’s historic case against Beijing over the West Philippine Sea. 

Confirmed: Ruling on Philippines-China case out on July 12 – June 29, 2016 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration says that “there will be no in-person meeting or ceremony for the rendering of the award.”

Duterte: Philippines won’t ‘flaunt’ sea dispute ruling vs China – June 30, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte says he will not “flaunt” a possible ruling against China in a historic case filed by the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea.

Philippines willing to share resources in West Philippine Sea – July 8, 2016

The Philippines is willing to share natural resources with China in contested West Philippine Sea areas even if it wins its case, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr says

DFA chief clarifies statement on China, again – July 9, 2016

For the second time during his first full week in office, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr finds the need to clarify his statement on China regarding the disputed West Philippine Sea.

– with research from Rendell Sanchez/Rappler.com

Rendell Sanchez is a Rappler intern.

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.