The Hague Tribunal ruled against China today, saying it has no historical rights over the disputed waters of South China Sea. China reacted to the development saying it is not bound by the ruling and boycotted the Court, while Philippines has termed the decision ‘a huge victory’.
Philippines Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, said, it is a ‘milestone judgment’, reported Al Jazeera. The judgment has sparked fresh tensions between China and Philippines, as both countries have claimed rights over South China Sea.
The Philippines embassy has issued warning to its citizens living in China, even before the ruling and told them to carry identity cards along with them. They were told to report, any untoward incidents either from Chinese police or people directly to its embassy. The controversy over rights over the strategic Sea waters’ has lead to fresh tensions between the Asian dragon and its neighbours, who are suspicious of China’s expansionist strategy.
More than $5 trillion of world trade passes through South China Sea every year. Both China and US have accused each other of tensions in the strategic sea route. China’s official agency Xinhua said, “South China Sea arbitration is against international law.” Chinese leaders have termed the arbitration invalid, irrelevant, said Al Jazeera reporting from Beijing. Reiterating its stand on the issue, China said, Hague Tribunal has no jurisdiction over its territories.
Observers say Chinese leadership made it very clear that it is no “mood for negotiation”. China fears that, the ruling would prompt it neighbours Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, to approach the Hague Tribunal seeking similar claims. The ruling has given a psychological victory for the Philippines, though the court has no powers to enforce its ruling, observed international commentators. US officials observed that China is expanding into the South China Sea, by building artificial islands. Chinese patrol boats are threatening the fishing vessels of other nations, alleged US officials recently.