South China Sea expert: Treat ruling as ‘valuable precedent’
A former Vietnamese government official and expert on the South China Sea issue has called on all the claimant countries in the territorial and maritime dispute to treat the arbitral ruling won by the Philippines last year as a “valuable precedent” in following the rule of law in the contested sea.
“[Claimant countries] should continue to implement a more robust, practical and specific legal battlefront. To do this, it is necessary to thoroughly study and publicize the ruling’s content as a valuable precedent, a lesson in following the rule of law,” Dr. Tran Cong Truc, former chief of Vietnam’s national border committee, said in an e-mail interview.
In a landmark ruling on July 12, 2016, the United Nations arbitral tribunal said China had no historical rights over the disputed parts of the South China Sea and invalidated its nine-dash line claim over the sea.
The Philippines, using a mechanism provided for under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), lodged the case against China following the 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff.
The ruling, which came down overwhelmingly favorable to the Philippines, was immediately dismissed as “a farce” by China, which did not participate in the case.
Tran said the ruling was not merely intended to define the winner between the Philippines and China.
“It is not intended to undermine China’s prestige and honor in the regional and international community. But rather, it protects the truth, the right to maintain and promote the effectiveness of Unclos,” Tran said./rga