China’s ‘nine-dash line, historic rights’ invalid–tribunal
The international arbitral tribunal has concluded that China’s “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea is “invalid” and that it does not have “historic rights” over the disputed region.
“The tribunal concluded that … there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources … within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line,’” the tribunal said in their decision on the arbitration case between the Philippines and China released on Tuesday.
“The tribunal concluded that historical navigation and fishing by China in the waters of the South China Sea represented the exercise of high seas freedoms, rather than a historic right, and that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters of the South China Sea or prevented other states from exploiting their resources,” it said.
The Philippines had filed an arbitration case against China in January 2013 following the tense standoff at Scarborough Shoal where Chinese maritime law enforcement vessels blocked Philippine authorities.
Filipino fishermen have been unable to fish in the resource rich Scarborough Shoal ever since.
The tribunal had also concluded that Chinese activities such as building of artificial islands within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) were illegal.
“The tribunal found as a matter of fact that China had (a) interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration at Reed Bank, (b) purported to prohibit fishing by Philippine vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, (c) protected and failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal, and (d) constructed installations and artificial islands at Mischief Reef without the authorization of the Philippines,” the tribunal said.
“The tribunal therefore concluded that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights with respect to its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf,” it said.
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