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Think tank scores it 40-8 in PH favor

/ 06:01 AM July 03, 2016

THE WASHINGTON-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) yesterday said only eight countries, mostly African, were openly supportive of China’s position as against the Philippines which had 40 nations supporting it in its arbitration proceedings against Beijing.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the CSIS released a tribunal arbitration tracker to see how the global community would respond to the final decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague expected on July 12.

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“A final ruling is expected soon from a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague hearing Manila’s case against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. How many countries recognize the decision as legally binding on both parties and call for it to be respected will determine its ultimate value, as international pressure is the court’s only enforcement mechanism,” said the AMTI in a statement.

According to the think tank, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims the number of countries supporting China’s position has climbed to 60, “but has not provided a list of the countries or, in most cases, evidence for their support.”

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The AMTI’s list showed that countries supporting China’s position included Afghanistan, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, Sudan, Togo and Vanuatu.

However, the think tank noted that four countries—Cambodia, Fiji, Poland and Slovenia—had publicly denied China’s claim of support.

“In contrast, 40 countries have voiced support for the arbitral proceedings, and said the award will be legally binding, and/or called on China and the Philippines to respect it,” the AMTI said in an arbitration support tracker issued on June 15.

Philippine Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said that China’s nations of supporters had no stake in the waters of the South China Sea while those supporting the Philippines’ position to address the disputes through arbitration were key naval powers such as the United States, France and Australia.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the Philippines would abide by the arbitration court’s decision to be rendered on July 12 whether it favors the Philippines or China.

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TAGS: Center for Strategic and International Studies, South China Sea, territorial dispute, The Hague, West Philippine Sea
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