China defies the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in The Hague
The international tribunal delivers a blow to China’s claims in the South China Sea
Manila, Jul 16.─ By ejecting its neighbours’ forces, building up its navy and constructing artificial islands, China has for years sought to assert vast and ambiguous territorial claims in the South China Sea. These alarm its neighbours and have led to military confrontations. They also challenge America’s influence in Asia. Now the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international tribunal in The Hague, has declared China’s “historic claims” in the South China Sea invalid. It was an unexpectedly wide-ranging and clear-cut ruling, and it has enraged China. The judgment could change the politics of the South China Sea and, in the long run, force China to choose what sort of country it wants to be—one that supports rules-based global regimes, or one that challenges them in pursuit of great-power status.
The case was brought by the Philippines in 2013, after China grabbed control of a reef, called Scarborough Shoal, about 220 miles (350km) north-west of Manila. The case had wider significance, though, because of the South China Sea itself. About a third of world trade passes through its sea lanes, including most of China’s oil imports. It contains large reserves of oil and gas. But it matters above all because it is a place of multiple overlapping maritime claims and a growing military presence (Chinese troops are pictured above on one of the sea’s islands).Add a comment Leer más...