Arbitration award more shameless than worst prediction

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/12 21:08:24

The Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague announced its award over the South China Sea disputes on Tuesday, with the final verdict more radical and shameless than many people had ever expected. All Chinese people are outraged by this illegal verdict and the world's peace-loving public is astonished by the biased decision that may escalate regional tensions.

The tribunal denied the legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line and decided that none of the high-tide features in the Nansha Islands can generate an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Besides, it found China's construction in the Nansha Islands has no legitimacy, and blamed China for interfering in the Philippines' business activities within the nine-dash line and its obstruction of Philippine vessels for intensifying tensions in the sea.

If the award were to be followed, China would be left with only a few isolated spots in the Nansha Islands without entitlement to any EEZ and could even be deprived of sovereignty of the waters surrounding the islands and islets. The majority of the Nansha Islands waters would be taken up by the EEZs claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. Besides, China could not continue with its island construction. The existing facilities might be dismantled by these two countries if they could. With the related resources being owned by Manila and Hanoi in the future, China would have to withdraw its business and other activities from the area. 

This not only outrageously denies China's historic rights in the Nansha area and its legitimate maritime interests, but also overthrows the state of de facto control in the region including the Huangyan Island waters. This is ridiculous. The verdict has brazenly violated China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has no jurisdiction over territorial disputes, a principle that has been established since the convention was signed. The tribunal's verdict, by redefining the disputes, has stepped in to dictate over the sovereign and maritime demarcation disputes between China and the Philippines. The tribunal has shamelessly overstepped and abused its authority. It is a brutal violation of UNCLOS and the entire international law system.

Not only the Chinese government, but the whole of Chinese society will by no means accept the verdict. Our attitude of non-acceptance and non-participation in the arbitration remains unchanged. The so-called arbitration award is nothing but a piece of paper. But if the US and Japan use it to pile military and political pressure on Beijing, Chinese people will firmly support our government to launch a tit-for-tat counterpunch. We trust Chinese law enforcement and military forces have been well-prepared. We don't believe the provocateurs are emboldened enough to take forceful actions other than making some statements. 

We hope China's rightful activities in the Nansha area will not be affected. Meanwhile, Chinese society can withstand all the waves, including geopolitical challenges, to function as usual. We have trust in the Chinese government and in our national strength to deal with these challenges. We have kept a firm hold on the reclaimed islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands. Compared to long-term significance of these strategic pivots, the arbitration is merely a bubble.

Posted in: Editorial

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