China Boycott International Arbitration Court

China said that it will continue boycotting proceedings at an international arbitration court over a territorial dispute with the Philippines.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague announced that it will handle the case filed by the Philippines over China’s territorial claim for almost the entire South China Sea.

The Philippines along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan contests China’s claims.

Philippines filed the case in 2013 to seek a ruling on its right to exploit the South China Sea waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

current affairsThe Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected China’s claim that the disputes were about territorial sovereignty and said additional hearings would be held to decide the merits of the Philippines’ arguments.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the decision is invalid and has no binding power on China. China said that the decision is unjust because it ignores China’s rights.

The tribunal’s decision undercut China’s claims under the so-called nine-dashed line that takes in about 90 percent of the 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mile) South China Sea on Chinese maps. This vague boundary was officially published on a map by China’s Nationalist government in 1947 and has been included in subsequent maps under Communist rule.

China has stepped up activity in the South China Sea, through which 30 per cent of global trade passes, over the past two years. It has increased the number of patrols by its coast guard, and also constructed five artificial islands by dredging thousands of acres around reefs and atolls. One of those islands — a reef called Fiery Cross — now has a 3km runway that is capable of handling military aircraft.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an international organization based in The Hague in the Netherlands. It was established in 1899 at the first Hague Peace Conference.

The PCA encourages the resolution of disputes that involve states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties by assisting in the establishment of arbitration tribunals and facilitating their work.

The PCA is different from the International Court of Justice which is housed in the same building, the Peace Palace in The Hague.