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

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 

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

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

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

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.

"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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

THOUGHT LEADERS 

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

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

"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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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. 

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. 

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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 R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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