PH-China ruling could help restart talks – ICG

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PH-China ruling could help restart talks – ICG
Despite China rejecting the ruling, it could form the basis of a 'better, durable, negotiated outcome', the International Crisis Group says

MANILA, Philippines – The historic ruling on the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) could restart negotiations between the parties involved, a think tank said Wednesday, July 13.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Tuesday, July 12, ruled that China’s expansive claims in the disputed sea has no legal basis under international law, and that its artificial island building and the blocking of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal were unlawful.

Despite China rejecting the ruling, the “judgment’s legal clarity could ultimately provide the basis of a better, durable, negotiated outcome for the many parties involved,” according to a post by the International Crisis Group’s Yanmei Xie.

“While the ruling is likely to provoke heated rhetoric in the short term, it could ultimately help reverse recent trends toward confrontation,” Yanmei said.

“The process could set an example for other claimants to follow and thus provide incentive for China to negotiate,” she said. “By providing greater legal clarity and generating international attention, it could reduce the asymmetry between China and other claimants in negotiations.”

With the ruling affecting China’s international reputation negatively, the ICG suggested China could take some “incremental and face-saving steps towards compliance.” These could include avoiding interference of fishing and exploration activities in other claimants’ exclusive economic zones, and making “substantive progress” on formulating a code of conduct in the region. 

In a 2015 interview with Rappler, Philippine Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio discussed two international cases to show that China would be forced “one way or another” to comply with a ruling that he expects would favor the Philippines in the maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). (WATCH: Carpio on making China follow the rule of law).

These are the 1986 case of Nicaragua v. United States of America that was filed before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the 2013 case Kingdom of Netherlands v. Russian Federation before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). KD Suarez, with a report from Agence France-Presse/

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