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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DFA CALLS FOR RETRAINT, SOBRIETY AFTER TRIBUNAL FAVORS PHILIPPINES
[RELATED: China blames Philippines for stirring up trouble]
[RELATED(2): Palace to wait for SolGen’s interpretation on South China Sea ruling]


JULY 12 -Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. File photo Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Tuesday called for "restraint and sobriety" after a milestone ruling by an international arbitration court that there is no basis for China's "nine-dash line" claim over a large part of the South China Sea. In a statement read to the press, Yasay said the Philippines welcomes the award by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) "on the proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea." The Philippines claims part of the South China Sea that is within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea. The panel said that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a UN treaty like the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea, or UNCLOS. "Our experts are studying the Award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. In the meantime, we call on those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety," Yasay said. "The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea," he also said, adding the decision upholds international law and the UNCLOS. READ MORE...RELATED, China blames Philippines for stirring up trouble...RELATED(2), Palace to wait for SolGen’s interpretation on South China Sea ruling...

ALSO: China eyes win-win outcome in talks
[Countries supporting China’s position included Afghanistan, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, Sudan, Togo and Vanuatu. Yang noted the South China Sea has been part of China’s domain since ancient times.]
[RELATED: China rejects Hague tribunal judgment—foreign ministry
]
[RELATED(2)
 Caught between a reef and a hard place, Manila’s South China Sea victory runs aground]


JULY 16 -The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese. PCA/Released
China is eyeing a “win-win” outcome of possible post-arbitration talks with the Philippines, with both countries to discuss “temporary arrangements” pending final settlement of their maritime dispute.
China’s ministry of foreign affairs announced Beijing’s readiness to talk even as it called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not to take sides on the issue related to arbitration. The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese. The Chinese foreign ministry also said Beijing’s position of not accepting or recognizing the ruling will not change. State Councilor Yang Jiechi said the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN since the regional bloc has long made clear its neutrality on the issue. His statement came amid ASEAN’s silence on the rejection of Chinese territorial claims by the arbitral tribunal. “Therefore, it should not take sides on issues related to the arbitration,” Yang said. China and ASEAN member-states, he said, have maintained candid and friendly communication regarding the South China Sea issue. Yang said China is ready to settle the disputes through peaceful negotiation with countries directly concerned – on the basis of respecting “historical facts,” which the arbitral tribunal rejected in its ruling. The tribunal’s ruling was based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing is a signatory to UNCLOS. READ MORE...RELATED, China rejects Hague tribunal judgment—foreign ministry...RELATED(2) Caught between a reef and a hard place, Manila’s South China Sea victory runs aground

ALSO: Chinese coastguard still blocking Pinoy fishermen from Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, officials say [Asked whether China was currently allowing Philippines fishermen to fish around Scarborough Shoal, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the decision of the court would have no effect on China's South China Sea policy.]
[RELATED: Pinoy fishermen not barred from going to Panatag Shoal –says Palace]


JULY 15 -China's coastguard has prevented Filipino boats from fishing around the hotly contested Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, Philippine officials said on Friday, ...
China's coastguard has prevented Filipino boats from fishing around the hotly contested Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, Philippine officials said on Friday, after Beijing kept a promise to ignore a court ruling voiding its vast South China Sea claims.
A dispute over the shoal, 124 nautical miles northwest of Luzon was one of Manila's main reasons for bringing international legal action against China in 2013. Military officials and fishermen in northwest province of Pangasinan said Chinese coastguard vessels remained in place at Scarborough and were still preventing fishermen from entering the shoal's lagoon. Many boats had stayed away until the situation was clearer, officials said. "The fishermen here have a wait-and-see attitude and are feeling their pulse whether it is safe to go to Scarborough," Luis Madarang, an official responsible for fishing in Infanta town, said by phone. "We are not stopping them but cautioned them to stay away from any trouble in the area. It will not help the situation if they will challenge the Chinese who are still there." Pressure to enforce The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday ruled that because it has rocks above high tide, Scarborough Shoal was entitled to 12 miles of territorial sea, although it did not say who owns it. They acknowledged that fishermen from many nations, including the Philippines and China, have traditionally fished there and said China had "unlawfully prevented" Filipino fishermen from operating their after seizing Scarborough in 2012Since then, Filipino fishermen have found different jobs, trawled elsewhere, or played a dangerous game of chicken with Chinese vessels which have been accused of chasing, ramming or blasting them with water cannon. China refused to participate in the arbitration, saying the case was illegal, the panel lacked jurisdiction and that it had 2,000 years of history in the South China Sea. READ MORE...RELATED, Pinoy fishermen not barred from going to Panatag Shoal –Palace...

ALSO: Kenney, Yasay meet ahead of arbitral ruling
[RELATED: PH mulls over ‘right response at right time’]

[RELATED(2): China welcomes Duterte's plan to send FVR]


JULY 13 -Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. calls for restraint over a UN court ruling yesterday. AP
US Department of State Counselor Kristie Kenney yesterday met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. for Washington’s call for parties to respect the ruling in the South China Sea dispute. They met hours before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague released its ruling on the case that the Philippines filed against China for its excessive claims in the South China Sea. Kenney arrived at the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday morning with US Ambassador Philip Goldberg. She urged China and the Philippines to abide by the ruling of the arbitral court. “We would hope all parties respect the ruling, everyone shows restraint and use this as good basis to move forward to resolve this complicated, competing claims in a way that’s diplomatic and leads to very positive solution,” Kenney told reporters in a chance interview. Kenney, former US ambassador to the Philippines, also said she was “very pleased to discuss the issues around the world as well as our collaboration.” But China already called the ruling “invalid” even before it was handed down by the court. Chinese state media Xinhua news agency said the “South China Sea arbitration abuses international law.” FULL REPORT...
PH mulls over ‘right response at right time’...RELATED(2), China welcomes Duterte's plan to send FVR...

ALSO:
World leaders react to South China Sea ruling

[RELATED from NY Times: Explaining the PH-China sea dispute]


JULY 12 -Woody Island in the Paracel Island chain. Google Earth
The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines on Tuesday disputing China's nine-dash line claim on virtually the entire South China Sea.
FULL TEXT: Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on Philippines case vs China World leaders shared their thoughts on the historic decision. Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. called for "restraint and sobriety" immediately after the international arbitration court's ruling. He said the Philippines welcomes the ruling but said the 501-page award. Meanwhile, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Solicitor General Jose Calida would provide President Rodrigo Duterte with a synopsis of the ruling on Wednesday morning. Vietnam Vietnam as one of the South China Sea claimant countries has been watching the Philippines's case against China with interest. Soon after the ruling was released, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh said Vietnam strongly supports the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. It also reaffirmed its sovereignty over Paracel Islands (also claimed by China) and Spratly Islands (also claimed by China, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines), which it said is established in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. United States The United States said it is still studying the tribunal's decision in the Philippines-China arbitration and made no comments yet on the merits of the case. However, it reiterated its support for efforts to resolve the dispute through peaceful means, including through arbitration. Washington expressed hope that China and the Philippines would comply with the decision and urged all claimants to avoid provocative statements or actions. READ MORE...RELATED, Explaining the PH-China sea dispute...(New York Times view comment)


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DFA calls for restraint, sobriety after tribunal favors Philippines


Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. File photo

MANILA, JULY 18, 2016 (PHILSTAR) Updated July 12, 2016 - 5:48pm - Updated 6:03 p.m.) - Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Tuesday called for "restraint and sobriety" after a milestone ruling by an international arbitration court that there is no basis for China's "nine-dash line" claim over a large part of the South China Sea.

In a statement read to the press, Yasay said the Philippines welcomes the award by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) "on the proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea."

The Philippines claims part of the South China Sea that is within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea.

The panel said that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a UN treaty like the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea, or UNCLOS.

"Our experts are studying the Award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. In the meantime, we call on those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety," Yasay said.

"The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea," he also said, adding the decision upholds international law and the UNCLOS.

READ MORE...

Chinese state media has reported that China "does not accept or acknowledge" tribunal or its South China Sea ruling. It has refused to participate in the proceedings and has repeatedly said that it will not heed the decision, citing its historical claims.

'Sharing' the sea

Before the PCA handed down its ruling, Yasay had hinted in an Agence France-Presse interview that the Philippines expects to go into talks with China after the arbitration case is resolved.

“As the ruling will not address sovereignty and delimitation, it is possible that some time in the future, claimant countries might consider entering into arrangements such as joint exploration and utilization of resources in disputed areas that do not prejudice the parties’ claims and delimitation of boundaries in accordance with UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea),” he later clarified.

On June 30, during the first Cabinet meeting of the Duterte administration, Yasay spoke about an apparent wish by some foreign governments for Manila to issue a stronger statement about the dispute if the tribunal rules favorably.

"I am adverse to that idea," he told President Rodrigo Duterte and fellow Cabinet members, echoing the president's remarks on the need for the government to further study the ruling's repercussions.

The television feed of the Cabinet meeting was cut soon after. -- Jonathan de Santos with reports from the Associated Press

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

China blames Philippines for stirring up trouble By Gillian Wong and Jim Gomez (philstar.com) | Updated July 13, 2016 - 12:22pm 1 374 googleplus0 1


Protesters display their message during a rally outside of the Chinese Consulate hours before the Hague-based UN international arbitration tribunal is to announce its ruling on South China Sea Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in Makati city east of Manila, Philippines. The protesters are urging China to respect the Philippines' rights over its exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelf as mandated by the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. AP/Bullit Marquez

BEIJING — China blamed the Philippines for stirring up trouble and issued a policy paper Wednesday calling the islands in the South China Sea its "inherent territory," a day after an international tribunal said China had no legal basis for its expansive claims.

"It is the Philippines that has created and stirred up the trouble," Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said in introducing the paper.

The Philippines sought arbitration from an international tribunal on several issues related to its territorial disputes with China.

The tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, rejected China's claims in a landmark ruling that also found the country had aggravated the seething regional dispute and violated the Philippines' maritime rights by building up artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and by disrupting fishing and oil exploration.

While the decision is seen as a major legal declaration regarding one of the world's most contested regions, the true impact is uncertain given the tribunal has no power of enforcement.

In the new policy paper, China asserts its sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their surrounding waters and opposes other countries' "illegal claims and occupation."

The paper blamed the Philippines for violating an agreement with China to settle the disputes through bilateral negotiation and said Manila "distorted facts and concocted a pack of lies" to push forward the arbitration proceedings.

Still, Liu said, China remained committed to negotiations with the Philippines, noting new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's positive remarks on the issue.

"China stands ready to work with the new Philippine government," Liu said. He added that "early removal of obstacles posed by the arbitration case" would help efforts to improve relations.

While the findings cannot reverse China's actions, it still constitutes a rebuke, carrying with it the force of the international community's opinion. It also gives heart to small countries in Asia that have helplessly chafed at China's expansionism, backed by its military and economic power.

"The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea," Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in Manila, calling on "all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety."


DEL ROSARIO

Former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who helped oversee the filing of the case, said the ruling underscored "our collective belief that right is might and that international law is the great equalizer among states."

Del Rosario stressed that it was important for the ruling to be accepted by all.

"For the sake of maintaining international order, it is imperative that the Award and clarification of maritime entitlements be accepted by all relevant countries - without exception - so that we can work together on how remaining issues can be peacefully resolved," he said.

Six regional governments have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, waters that are rich in fishing stocks and potential energy resources and where an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

The disputes have also increased friction between China and the United States, which has ramped up its military presence in the region as China has expanded its navy's reach farther offshore.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest reacted to the ruling by encourage all parties to "acknowledge the final and binding nature of this tribunal."

Earnest spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One as President Barack Obama was flying to Dallas. He said the United States was not a claimant in the case and that it seeks a peaceful resolution to disputes and competing claims in the region, while preserving the U.S.'s ability engage in the freedom of navigation and commerce.

Earnest said the White House sees the potential that the tribunal's ruling could aid in the resolution of the dispute in a way that doesn't further inflame the situation. He also urged the parties not to use the ruling as an opportunity to engage in escalatory or provocative actions.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the ruling is an opportunity for everyone in the region to act in a sensible way in accordance with the rule of law in order to settle disputes. Carter spoke at a news conference in Afghanistan where he was meeting with U.S. commanders.


CARTER

The U.S. State Department called on both parties to comply with their obligations, according to a statement from spokesman John Kirby. The United States has not taken sides in the South China Sea disputes but has worked to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the region are maintained.

The Philippines, under a U.N. treaty governing the seas, asked in 2013 for arbitration on a number of issues it had with treaty co-signee China.

The five-member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, unanimously concluded China had violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating the dispute while the settlement process was ongoing.

It also found that China had interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration at Reed Bank, tried to stop fishing by Philippine vessels within the country's exclusive economic zone and failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.

China, which boycotted the entire proceedings, reiterated that it does not accept the panel's jurisdiction. China "solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it," a statement from the foreign ministry said.

It added that "China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards." The ministry repeated China's often-expressed stance that the Philippines' move to initiate arbitration without China's consent was in "bad faith" and in violation of international law.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday that China's reputation and ambitions of becoming a world leader would suffer if it ignored the South China Sea ruling.

"To ignore it would be a serious international transgression," Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "There would be strong reputational costs."

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the tribunal's decision is "final and legally binding" and that the two sides should comply with it. He said in a statement that "Japan strongly expects that the parties' compliance with this award will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea."

China considers bilateral talks with the other claimants the only way to address the South China Sea disputes.

It has said vast areas of the South China Sea have been Chinese territory since ancient times and demarcated its modern claims with the so-called nine-dash line, a map that was submitted under the U.N. treaty. Manila brought the case to arbitration because China's claims infringe upon its own 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

The tribunal said that any historical resource rights China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under the U.N. treaty, which both countries have signed.

It also criticized China for building a large artificial island on Mischief Reef, saying it caused "permanent irreparable harm" to the coral reef ecosystem and permanently destroyed evidence of the natural conditions of the feature.

Just before the panel announced its ruling, a busload of Chinese tourists arrived outside the court building in The Hague and joined a handful of other protesters in shouting down three people calling for China to leave Philippine waters. In Manila, dozens of rallying Filipinos jumped for joy, wept, embraced each other and waved Philippine flags after news of their victory. One held up a poster that said: "Philippine sovereignty, non-negotiable."

The aftermath of the ruling could be greatly influenced by new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office late last month and inherited a case filed by his predecessor. Duterte has spoken of having friendlier relations with China and said last week his government stood ready to talk to Beijing if it got a favorable ruling. It remains to be seen, however, how far Duterte can stray from Manila's previously critical stance, given his country's growing nationalist sentiment against China's actions. ___

Gomez reported from Manila, Philippines. Associated Press writers Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo; Vijay Joshi in Bangkok and Teresa Cerojano in Manila contributed to this report.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Palace to wait for SolGen’s interpretation on South China Sea ruling By Jelly Musico (philstar.com) | Updated July 12, 2016 - 9:03pm 3 37 googleplus0 0


Malacañang said it will wait for Office of the Solicitor General’s interpretation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling favoring the Philippines arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea. File photo

MANILA, July 12 (Philippine News Agency) – Malacañang on Tuesday said it would wait for the Office of the Solicitor General’s interpretation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the Philippines arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea.

”We shall wait for SolGen’s interpretation of the ruling,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a text message to the Malacañang media.

Andanar said Solicitor General Jose Calida shall provide President Rodrigo Duterte with a synopsis of the ruling on Wednesday morning.

He added that the complete and thorough interpretation of the ruling would be provided by the solicitor general within five days.

Earlier, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said national interest would be the priority whatever the outcome of the international arbitral tribunal’s decision.

”The top priority will be national interest. Definitely, national interest,” Abella said in a media briefing six hours before the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration's decision came out.

In the meantime, Abella said Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay would be the sole spokesperson regarding the arbitration case.

READ MORE...

”He will be the one speaking for and in behalf,” Abella said.

Abella added that the decision “will be subject to a discussion” by the entire Duterte Cabinet.

Yasay has welcomed the ruling on Tuesday by the arbitral tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under Annex VIII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

”Our experts are studying the Award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. In the meantime, we call on all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety,” Yasay said in a press statement.

”The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea. The decision upholds international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS,” he added.

Yasay said the Philippines “reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region.”


PHILSTAR

China eyes win-win outcome in talks By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese. PCA/Released

MANILA, Philippines - China is eyeing a “win-win” outcome of possible post-arbitration talks with the Philippines, with both countries to discuss “temporary arrangements” pending final settlement of their maritime dispute.

China’s ministry of foreign affairs announced Beijing’s readiness to talk even as it called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not to take sides on the issue related to arbitration.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague, in a ruling last July 12, invalidated China’s massive claim in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights over areas seized or claimed by the Chinese.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said Beijing’s position of not accepting or recognizing the ruling will not change.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN since the regional bloc has long made clear its neutrality on the issue.

His statement came amid ASEAN’s silence on the rejection of Chinese territorial claims by the arbitral tribunal. “Therefore, it should not take sides on issues related to the arbitration,” Yang said.

China and ASEAN member-states, he said, have maintained candid and friendly communication regarding the South China Sea issue.

Yang said China is ready to settle the disputes through peaceful negotiation with countries directly concerned – on the basis of respecting “historical facts,” which the arbitral tribunal rejected in its ruling.

The tribunal’s ruling was based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing is a signatory to UNCLOS.

READ MORE...

“China is ready to discuss with countries concerned about temporary arrangements pending final settlement of the dispute, which include joint development in relevant waters in the South China Sea for mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, so that together we can maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Yang said.

“China’s position of not accepting or recognizing the award will not change,” he pointed out.

The official blamed the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III for the “serious difficulty” the Philippines-China bilateral relations were going through. He said the Aquino administration had a hostile policy toward China on the sea dispute.

“We call on the new Philippine government to bear in mind the common interests of our two countries and the broader picture of bilateral ties and properly handle relevant issues,” he said.

China, Yang said, will stay committed to following the peaceful path of negotiation and consultation, and to developing friendly relations and win-win cooperation with its neighbors.

Beijing refused to participate in the arbitral proceedings and rejected the ruling, calling the award by the Arbitral Tribunal “illegal” and “invalid.”

Yang said “this position of the central government has the strong support and endorsement from people of various social sectors in China.”

“They have expressed their unequivocal attitude of opposing the illegal arbitration and safeguarding sovereign rights and interests by contributing articles and articulating views through the press, TV and SMS as well as online platforms like WeChat and Weibo,” Yang said, referring to what he called declaration of support for the Chinese position.

He called the South China Sea arbitration a political farce all along, staged under the cover of law and driven by a hidden agenda.

Certain countries outside the region, he said, have attempted to deny China’s sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea through the arbitration.

“But such attempts are futile, to say the least, and in so doing, they are only lifting a stone to drop it on their own feet,” he added.

He said the arbitration ran counter to the spirit of international rule of law, as it put regional peace and stability in jeopardy, and undermined the interests of the international community.

“Most countries in the world see this clearly,” he claimed.

Yang flaunted that over 70 countries and international and regional organizations have made statements showing their support for China’s position.

On the other hand, the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said 40 countries had voiced support for the arbitral proceedings.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the CSIS said countries that considered the outcome of arbitral proceeding binding were Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Countries supporting China’s position included Afghanistan, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, Sudan, Togo and Vanuatu.

Yang noted the South China Sea has been part of China’s domain since ancient times.

“No country should expect us to trade our core interests away or swallow the bitter consequences of our sovereignty, security and development interests being undermined,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

China rejects Hague tribunal judgment—foreign ministry @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse
06:18 PM July 12th, 2016


Vietnamese expatriates cheer while displaying placards during a rally by the Manila’s baywalk before the Hague-based U.N. international arbitration tribunal is to announce its ruling on South China Sea Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Philippines. The Vietnamese are supporting the Philippines’ case it filed before the international tribunal on China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

BEIJING — Beijing “does not accept and does not recognize” the ruling by a UN-backed tribunal on its dispute with the Philippines over the South China Sea, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The declaration in a statement on its website followed a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that China has no historic rights to its claimed “nine-dash line.”

“The award is null and void and has no binding force,” the ministry said. “China neither accepts nor recognizes it.”

Beijing “does not accept any means of third party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China,” it added, reiterating its long-standing position on the dispute.

READ MORE...

China has repeatedly denied the tribunal’s authority to rule on the dispute with the Philippines over the strategically vital region, claiming that the court’s actions are illegal and biased against it.

Beijing refused the opportunity to defend its position before the body.

“China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards,” the statement said, adding that “China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards.”/rga

RELATED STORIES

China media calls UN court ‘law-abusing tribunal’

Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

 
https://youtu.be/BHxeBTRvVVI

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Caught between a reef and a hard place, Manila’s South China Sea victory runs aground by Reuters July 15, 2016 (updated) Share46 Tweet0 Share0 Email1 Share74


Mischief Reef (REUTERS)

HONG KONG/MANILA - The Philippines may have won an emphatic legal victory over China in the South China Sea, but the aptly named Mischief Reef shows just how hard it will be for Manila to make its triumph count in the strategic waterway.

Chinese construction on the reef, which began two decades ago as a few rickety shelters perched on stilts, now covers an area larger than 500 football fields. It includes a 3 km (9,800 feet) runway, extensive housing, parade grounds and radar nests, satellite images show.

According to Tuesday’s landmark ruling, however, the reef and everything on it legally belongs to the Philippines and no amount of time or building will change that.

Publicly, Manila has been unusually cautious in its response to the sweeping ruling, urging “restraint and sobriety”. In private, officials acknowledge they have little hope of recovering Mischief Reef any time soon despite the unequivocal ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

“This will take time, not in the next five or 10 years,” said one senior Philippine navy official, requesting anonymity to speak freely on the highly sensitive matter.

It was, he said, “impossible to evict the Chinese there”.

RESOLUTE RESPONSE

Beijing, which boycotted the case from the outset, says the ruling has no bearing on its rights in the South China Sea and has reasserted it claims to Mischief and other features.

On Thursday, the state-run People’s Daily ran a picture on its front page of a civilian aircraft landing at the new Mischief airport, two Chinese flags rippling from the cockpit.

“As I’ve said before, it won’t have any effect,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, when asked if China would seek to bolster its sovereignty over Mischief Reef.

“At the same time, I want to stress that if any person wants to take the outcome of this arbitration as a basis for taking any provocative steps against China’s interests, China will most certainly resolutely respond,” Lu told reporters.

With the panel having no powers to enforce its ruling, mainland experts see no sign that China will scale back its actions across the South China Sea.

“The tribunal’s decision is so sweeping that it is not going to help solve the problem,” said Sienho Yee, an international law specialist at China’s Wuhan University.

Other Chinese experts, speaking privately, said the ruling was being closely scrutinized, despite official statements dismissing its relevance.

Some among leadership elites had been “stung” by its comprehensive stance against China.

“There is surprise at the extent of the sheer arrogance of these judges sitting (in Europe) deciding what is a rock and what is an island,” said one Beijing-based scholar.

“It can only serve to unify our leadership and harden Chinese views, and that includes the military leadership. There will be little appetite to take a step back.”

Manila’s “softly, softly” approach reflected its understanding of that risk, Philippine officials said.

“We should find ways to allow some face-saving actions because China could face tremendous domestic pressure,” the Philippine navy official said. “We don’t want the Chinese Communist Party to be overthrown by the more hot-headed people in the People’s Liberation Army. That will be too dangerous.”

President Xi Jinping has moved extensively to tighten his grip on power since assuming office almost four years ago and there has been no sign of any such action.

NOTHING MORE THAN SEABED

The decision on Mischief Reef is among the most significant within the 479-page judgment from the panel, which looked at the territorial rights of disputed reefs, rocks and shoals scattered throughout the key trade route.

At a stroke, the court dismissed Beijing’s 69-year-old nine-dash line claim to much of the South China Sea and removed any legal basis for Beijing to create a network of linked territorial and economic seas under its control, legal experts said.

Mischief is China’s eastern most holding in the resource-rich waterway. Some 300 km (185 miles) west of the Philippines’ island of Palawan and 1,100 km (685 miles) from China’s Hainan Island, it sits entirely within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf.

The panel ruled China’s building of installations on reclaimed land, which accelerated sharply after 2014, was illegal and had “aggravated” the dispute under the U.N Convention on the Law of the Sea, under which Manila launched the case in 2013.

The judges backed Philippines’ lawyers who used satellite, survey and historical data, including Chinese naval pilot notes, to show Mischief Reef is – legally at least – nothing more than seabed exposed at low tide.

The lawyers gave evidence that its traditional Chinese name – Mi Qi Fu – was based on Mischief’s English name, according to court transcripts, seeking to undermine China’s argument that it had been, in its words, “master” of the South China Sea for 2,000 years. China calls it Meiji Reef today.

POTENTIAL FLASHPOINT

Regional military officials and diplomats say Mischief is a clear flashpoint in what is expected to be months of tension after the ruling.

Others include Scarborough Shoal, a traditional Philippine fishing ground that was occupied by China in 2012, and Second Thomas Shoal, where a small group of Philippine soldiers is based in the rusting hulk of a grounded ship.

The United States is also watching Mischief closely and has repeatedly warned China against further development of islands within the waters of the Philippines, a formal security ally.

U.S. Republican Senator Dan Sullivan demanded on Wednesday that U.S. ships sail close to Mischief as part of pledged increases in so-called freedom-of-navigation operations.

A U.S. defense official also told Reuters that, if regional competition escalated into confrontation, U.S. naval and air forces were prepared to act to maintain free navigation.

Manila is clear it doesn’t want to provoke China further.

“They are a bit angry now,” Philippines’ Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana told Reuters. “Emotions are running high and we don’t want to provide them any reason to react violently.”


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Chinese coastguard still blocking Pinoy fishermen from Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, officials say Published July 15, 2016 7:03pm


China's coastguard has prevented Filipino boats from fishing around the hotly contested Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, Philippine officials said on Friday, ...

China's coastguard has prevented Filipino boats from fishing around the hotly contested Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, Philippine officials said on Friday, after Beijing kept a promise to ignore a court ruling voiding its vast South China Sea claims.

A dispute over the shoal, 124 nautical miles northwest of Luzon was one of Manila's main reasons for bringing international legal action against China in 2013.

Military officials and fishermen in northwest province of Pangasinan said Chinese coastguard vessels remained in place at Scarborough and were still preventing fishermen from entering the shoal's lagoon.

Many boats had stayed away until the situation was clearer, officials said.

"The fishermen here have a wait-and-see attitude and are feeling their pulse whether it is safe to go to Scarborough," Luis Madarang, an official responsible for fishing in Infanta town, said by phone.

"We are not stopping them but cautioned them to stay away from any trouble in the area. It will not help the situation if they will challenge the Chinese who are still there."

Pressure to enforce

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday ruled that because it has rocks above high tide, Scarborough Shoal was entitled to 12 miles of territorial sea, although it did not say who owns it.

They acknowledged that fishermen from many nations, including the Philippines and China, have traditionally fished there and said China had "unlawfully prevented" Filipino fishermen from operating their after seizing Scarborough in 2012.

Since then, Filipino fishermen have found different jobs, trawled elsewhere, or played a dangerous game of chicken with Chinese vessels which have been accused of chasing, ramming or blasting them with water cannon.

China refused to participate in the arbitration, saying the case was illegal, the panel lacked jurisdiction and that it had 2,000 years of history in the South China Sea.

READ MORE...

Asked whether China was currently allowing Philippines fishermen to fish around Scarborough Shoal, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the decision of the court would have no effect on China's South China Sea policy.

On Friday, China's official air force microblog ran a picture of a plane flying over a reef. It did not say when or where the picture was taken, but Chinese media identified it as Scarborough Shoal.

The Pangasinan fishermen are seen by many Filipinos as victims of Chinese bullying.

Their plight has recently attracted much media attention and the government has come under pressure to help them by enforcing the court ruling. How it intends to do that is so far unclear.

"China will hold on to that shoal, for sure, and deny our fishermen access," said a senior navy commander who has previously joined diplomatic missions to China. He declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

"It's best for the government to negotiate with China."

The court made clear that although the shoal was located within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, it would still have to share it with other countries.

But there appeared to be confusion among some fishing communities and officials about a ruling that was overwhelmingly in the Philippines' favor.

"China is ignoring it so we will wait for our government to take action," said Madarang, the municipal official in charge of fishing. "The shoal is 100 percent ours and we cannot share it with China."

Elmer Madriaga, leader of a church-based group that helps fishermen in Masinloc, said it was time for China to move on.

"It belongs to us," he said. "So we should reclaim it and hope the government finds a peaceful and diplomatic means to remove the Chinese ships." — Reuters

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS ONLINE

Pinoy fishermen not barred from going to Panatag Shoal –Palace Published July 15, 2016 6:04pm

There was no order for Filipino fishermen not to go to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal after an international arbrital tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China, Malacañang said Friday.

However, the fishermen were told they could proceed but "with care," according to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

"We’re still saying that the fishermen are not prevented," Abella said during a press briefing. "However, they are cautioned to proceed with care. There's no statements preventing them specifically."

The local government of Masinloc, Zambales, has earlier advised their fishermen to stay away from Panatag Shoal until they receive the go-signal from the national government to avoid tension.

"Noong kumalma at wala ng alon, nagpaalam sila na lalaot sila at sinabihan ko naman silang 'wag muna lumapit sa Scarborough. Wala pang advice," Lino Torres of Masinloc LGU said in the report by GMA News' Bam Alegre.

Masinloc Vice Mayor Pedro Enciso said: "Mas mabuti 'yung ganun para hindi magkaroon ng tension between the two parties. Medyo mainit pa rin 'yung kabila. Mas maganda na 'yung maghintay tayo ng talagang may final ... especially kung magkakaroon ng usapan."

In 2012, a standoff occurred in Panatag Shoal between the Chinese Navy and government forces after Philippine forces spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species. Before Philippine forces could make arrests, they were blocked by Chinese vessels.

Since then Filipino fishermen have been barred by Chinese vessels from going to the shoal. But in May 2016, officials reported that Filipinos can now fish in the disputed area without being harassed by Chinese authorities.

On Tuesday, the Philippines scored a victory against China in a landmark ruling by an international tribunal that invalidated China’s massive claims in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea.

The ruling said there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the South China Sea and its resources. Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Kenney, Yasay meet ahead of arbitral ruling By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 13, 2016 - 12:00am 0 20 googleplus0 2


Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. calls for restraint over a UN court ruling yesterday. AP

MANILA, Philippines – US Department of State Counselor Kristie Kenney yesterday met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. for Washington’s call for parties to respect the ruling in the South China Sea dispute.

They met hours before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague released its ruling on the case that the Philippines filed against China for its excessive claims in the South China Sea.

Kenney arrived at the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday morning with US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

She urged China and the Philippines to abide by the ruling of the arbitral court.

“We would hope all parties respect the ruling, everyone shows restraint and use this as good basis to move forward to resolve this complicated, competing claims in a way that’s diplomatic and leads to very positive solution,” Kenney told reporters in a chance interview.

Kenney, former US ambassador to the Philippines, also said she was “very pleased to discuss the issues around the world as well as our collaboration.”

But China already called the ruling “invalid” even before it was handed down by the court.

Chinese state media Xinhua news agency said the “South China Sea arbitration abuses international law.”

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

PH mulls over ‘right response at right time’ SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS By: Leila B. Salaverria @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:19 AM July 14th, 2016


Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

The administration is preparing, in consultation with experts, the “right response at the right time” to the Philippines’ landmark victory in its arbitration case against China, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Wednesday.

The Philippines welcomes the arbitration court’s decision, Abella said, but will proceed with “sobriety and restraint.”

He said whatever would be done would be for the “common good,” especially with regard to Philippine fishermen, who have been adversely affected by China’s intrusion into their traditional fishing grounds.

“Now, whatever the results are, the legislative part has been done, and so we are now waiting for the right responses coming from the government,” Abella told reporters.

“I’m sure that everything will be for the common good, especially for those who are directly involved, including the fishermen, but let us wait for the right response at the right time,” he said. Asked to elaborate, he replied, “When it unfolds, that will be the right time.”

Among the experts consulted on the Philippines’ response to the decision were members of the Supreme Court, he said.

As for President Duterte’s initial reaction to the ruling, Abella said, “It was welcome, but also very responsible. It was a very responsible response.”

Mr. Duterte called a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, after the ruling was handed down, to discuss how the Philippines should respond.

Abella said the mood was “upbeat, but also very mature, very responsible.”

Among those present were Supreme Court Justices Antonio Carpio and Francis Jardeleza, and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who were involved in the Philippines’ arbitration case.

Solicitor General Jose Calida briefed the President on the legal points of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 501-page decision. It was a comprehensive discussion of the facts of the case, Calida said.

“We dissected the 15 submissions of the Philippine government and I explained the legal ramifications of each ruling,” Calida said in a phone interview.

He said it would be up to the President to decide on the next moves.

Earlier, Mr. Duterte said he wanted to talk with China in case the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in the Philippines’ favor in its case challenging Beijing’s claim to almost the whole of the South China Sea.

“We are not prepared to go to war. War is a dirty word now, but we will proceed accordingly after we shall have the copy of the arbitral judgment,” he said earlier this month.

Asean awaited

In an ambush interview on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said while the Philippines had the full support of the international community, “we hope Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) will come up with a unified statement.” The regional grouping has not come up with a common stand on China’s aggressive moves in the region.

But even without Asean’s unified stand, Yasay said, “we will see how we can peacefully implement the decision.” The secretary is attending he 11th Asia-Europe summit in Mongolia this weekend. China earlier warned delegates to the summit not to discuss sea disputes.

At a media forum on Wednesday, Hilbay said the case had now moved “toward the game of diplomats.”

“There will be a lot of pressure on China to calculate the risk and benefits of not following the award. China is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and it is legally bound to comply with the arbitration ruling or face reputational loss,” Hilbay said.

No jet ski to shoal

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday played down Mr. Duterte’s earlier campaign remark that he would jet ski to the disputed shoals and plant the Philippine flag to assert the country’s sovereignty.

“The situation on the ground is the same as before the issuance of the arbitration court. I think the status quo has been maintained by everybody,” Lorenzana said in his first interview with defense reporters.

“The Chinese have also said they will restrain actions there. They have asked for us not to be brash in our actions after the ruling and we have to abide by that request not to take measures that would ruffle feathers there or lead to some misunderstanding,” he said.

Lorenzana ruled out consultations with the United States, saying the Philippines would be “guided by what is good for our country.”

He said US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called him over phone on Sunday afternoon, assuring that “our alliance, our defense pact is ironclad” and that the United States “support you here in this issue.”

Also on Wednesday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson told a news forum that the Philippines could ask the United Nations to deploy a peacekeeping force in the South China Sea should China ignore the arbitration ruling.

“If there is a UN contingent composed of different countries, I don’t think China, for all its bravado … will go to war against the UN peacekeeping force. Otherwise, they will be fighting with the community of nations,” Lacson said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the ruling was an opportunity for both countries to go back to the negotiating table.

“We should ensure two things: that the corals and the maritime ecology in the South China Sea are not destroyed, and that Filipino fishermen are able to exercise their livelihood sustainably and to fish in their traditional fishing grounds without fear,” he said. With reports from Christine O. Avendaño, Estrella Torres and Jaymee T. Gamil

 

WATCH VIDEO: https://youtu.be/tEUHpMMQWtk?list=PLz3YOVDOo1Utj2MfaVr36wOtVO_FP4a5t
US STATE DEPT: THE WORLD IS WATCHING CHINA IS THE WORLD'S GLOBAL POWER AS IT PROFESSES TO BE AND A RESPONSIBLE POWER...

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RELATED(2) FROM ABS-CBN

China welcomes Duterte's plan to send FVR ABS-CBN News Posted at Jul 15 2016 11:47 PM


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Former President Fidel Ramos

BEIJING - China on Friday welcomed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to send a special envoy to China for talks over the South China Sea dispute, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Duterte on Thursday said he planned to send former President Fidel Ramos to China as special envoy to help start talks over the dispute, after an arbitration award was issued on Tuesday.

"After taking office, President Duterte has said several times that he is willing to properly handle the South China Sea issue with China, resume bilateral talks and improve bilateral ties," Lu said.

"China welcomes that President Duterte is willing to send special envoy to China to start talks. China has always been sticking to the way of properly handling relevant issues between China and the Philippines through bilateral talks, and we have never closed the door of dialogue with the Philippines. As long as the two countries adhere to the way of appropriately handling differences through dialogue and consultation, I believe a prospect of bright future for bilateral relations will open up," the spokesman said.

"We have expressed our position on the arbitration case many times. We will never accept any claim or action based on the award. We hope that both sides can go back to consensuses reached before, appropriately deal with relevant issues through dialogue and consultation, and make joint efforts for improvement and development of bilateral relations," Lu said.

READ: Duterte wants FVR as special envoy to China

'CAREFUL DEALING'

Duterte identified Ramos as the Philippines' possible special envoy to China during a testimonial dinner held at Club Filipino in San Juan.

"I would like to respectfully ask (former President Fidel Ramos) to go to China and start the talks," Duterte said.

Duterte made the offer after explaining his post-arbitration predicament.

"War? It is not an option. So what is the other side? Peaceful talks. I cannot give you the wherewithals now, I have to consult many people, including (former) President Ramos," he said.

"We gain nothing, but we also do not want to offend the United States. Why? Because we have identified ourselves allied with the Western powers. So there's an interest that we also should not forget, our interests and the interest of our allies," Duterte added.

According to Duterte, it is important to be "careful" in dealing with China so as not to create bigger problems not only for the Philippines, but for other countries as well.

"You know, there are a lot of complications there. Because now that the tribunal has ruled, 'yung arbitral decision says that, and if China would insist on a space domain, that you have to identify yourself before you can cross that vast sea there. America will not like it. "

"Alam mo 'pag nagsara 'yan [air space and sea lanes], lahat 'yan tataas, because even the insurance of the cargo and the boats, tataas. It would create another problem for our economy and somebody else's finances. So, careful tayo diyan," he added. -
with a report from Reuters


PHILSTAR

World leaders react to South China Sea ruling (philstar.com) | Updated July 13, 2016 - 12:35am 166 26.3K googleplus9 2


Woody Island in the Paracel Island chain. Google Earth

MANILA, Philippines — The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines on Tuesday disputing China's nine-dash line claim on virtually the entire South China Sea.

FULL TEXT: Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on Philippines case vs China

World leaders shared their thoughts on the historic decision. Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. called for "restraint and sobriety" immediately after the international arbitration court's ruling.

He said the Philippines welcomes the ruling but said the 501-page award. Meanwhile, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Solicitor General Jose Calida would provide President Rodrigo Duterte with a synopsis of the ruling on Wednesday morning.

Vietnam

Vietnam as one of the South China Sea claimant countries has been watching the Philippines's case against China with interest. Soon after the ruling was released, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh said Vietnam strongly supports the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

It also reaffirmed its sovereignty over Paracel Islands (also claimed by China) and Spratly Islands (also claimed by China, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines), which it said is established in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

United States

The United States said it is still studying the tribunal's decision in the Philippines-China arbitration and made no comments yet on the merits of the case.

However, it reiterated its support for efforts to resolve the dispute through peaceful means, including through arbitration.

Washington expressed hope that China and the Philippines would comply with the decision and urged all claimants to avoid provocative statements or actions.

READ MORE...

"We encourage claimants to clarify their maritime claims in accordance with international law — as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention — and to work together to manage and resolve their disputes," a statement from John Kirby, assistant secretary and department spokesperson of the Bureau of Public Affairs said.

RELATED: South China Sea row: Where countries stand

Australia

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, similarly, called on the Philippines and China to abide by the ruling, which is final and binding on both parties, and to refrain from coercive behavior.

Bishop clarified the nature of the tribunal's decision which ruled on maritime rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and not sovereignty.

She said the decision is an "important test case for how the region can manage disputes peacefully."

"Australia supports the right of all countries to seek to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS," she said, adding that adherence to international law is the foundation for peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.

New Zealand

Foreign Minister Murray McCully called on parties to respect the ruling on maritime rights in the South China Sea.

He said maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea is vital to the ongoing prosperity of the wider Asia-Pacific region.

“We hope that the Tribunal’s ruling can provide a platform for resolving the longstanding and complex issues in the South China Sea and we urge all parties to work towards this end,” McCully said.

Japan

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated Tokyo's consistent advocacy to the "importance of the rule of law and the use of peaceful means, not the use of force or coercion, in seeking settlement of maritime disputes."

Kishida also called on the parties to comply with the award.

India

India's Ministry of External Affairs said that as a state party to the UNCLOS, it urges all signatory countries to respect the international treaty which is also referred to as the "constitution of the sea."

It said states should resolve disputes peacefully and "exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability."

"Sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development," the ministry said in a statement. — Levi A. So

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RELATED VIEW COMMENT FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Explaining the PH-China sea dispute @inquirerdotnet New York Times News Service 03:10 AM July 16th, 2016


In this July 7, 2015, image provided by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the case regarding the Philippines and China on the South China Sea is heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, the Netherlands. An arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, will issue a ruling Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in a long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. The Philippines has asked the tribunal to declare China’s claims and actions invalid under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing has refused to join the case, rejecting the tribunal’s jurisdiction, and says it will not accept the decision.(Permanent Court of Arbitration via AP)

WASHINGTON—After an international tribunal in The Hague ruled emphatically against China in a maritime dispute with the Philippines, many Chinese state media outlets responded on Wednesday by publishing a map. It showed the South China Sea, with most of the waters encircled with the “nine-dash line” that has long represented China’s claims in the strategic waterway.

This week’s ruling may have delivered a sweeping victory in court to the Philippines, which argued that its maritime territory was being illegally seized by China.

But it has only escalated the larger dispute, which involves several Asian nations as well as the United States, and which is as much about China’s rise into a major world power as it is about this one sea.

What follows is an explanation of why this body of water is considered such a big deal, and why it may be a harbinger of global power politics in the decades ahead.

What is the dispute about?

At its most basic level, this is a contest between China and several Southeast Asian nations over territorial control in the South China Sea, which includes some of the most strategically important maritime territory on earth.

China, for the past few years, has been asserting ever greater control over faraway waters that were previously considered international or were claimed by other countries.

For example, it has seized small land formations or reefs, sometimes dredging up underwater sediment to make the islands large enough to support small military installations.

China’s naval forces have also grown more aggressive in patrolling these claims and chasing off non-Chinese ships. That is part of why its neighbors see this as an effort by China to dominate the region.

This is also about whether China will comply with international laws and norms, which Beijing sometimes views as a plot to constrain the country’s rise.

The United States has gotten involved, sending the Navy to patrol waters it insists are international and backing international mediation efforts.

Washington says it wants to maintain free movement and rule by international law. The risk of outright conflict is extremely low, but the militarization of these heavily trafficked and heavily fished waters is still dangerous.

What does the ruling mean?

The tribunal ruled almost categorically in favor of the Philippines, which had challenged some of China’s territorial claims. It also said China had broken international law by endangering Philippine ships and damaging the marine environment.

Maybe most important, the tribunal largely rejected the nine-dash line that China has used to indicate its South China Sea claims. This could open the way for other Asian states to challenge China’s claims.

So the letter of international law seems to say that China could be compelled to abandon many of its South China Sea claims.

But while the ruling is considered binding, there is no enforcement mechanism. China boycotted the proceedings, saying that the tribunal had no jurisdiction and that it would ignore any decision—a position it reiterated after the ruling came out.

Still, China is facing international pressure. Whether China chooses to defy or comply with that pressure, though, could help to shape its place in the international community.

What is the ‘nine-dash line?’


The Nine-Dash Line 南海九段线 Nine-dash Line -The nine-dash line (highlighted in green) as formerly claimed by the PRC

This little line has shown up on official Chinese maps since the 1940s (it began with 11 dashes). It demarcates a vast but vague stretch of ocean from China’s southern coast through most of the South China Sea.

China has never clarified the line’s exact coordinates. But it sweeps across waters—and some small islands—that are claimed by five other nations. It seems to go many kilometers beyond what is allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which China signed.

These are the areas where China has been building islands, installing runways and running patrols.

For China, the line represents long-lost historical claims that the country, after two centuries of weakness, is finally strong enough to recover. For the other nations, the line is a symbol of what they characterize as a naked power grab by China.

Why is the South China Sea so important?

The United States Energy Information Agency estimates there are 11 billion barrels of oil and 5.38 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in deposits under the sea—more than what exists in the reserves of some of the world’s biggest energy exporters.

The waters also contain lucrative fisheries that account for, according to some estimates, 10 percent of the global total. But this means that a lot of fishing boats are cruising around in waters contested by several different navies, increasing the risk of conflict.

The area’s greatest value is as a trade route. According to a 2015 US Department of Defense report, $5.3 trillion worth of goods moves through the sea every year, which is about 30 percent of global maritime trade. That includes huge amounts of oil and $1.2 trillion worth of annual trade with the United States.

Why does it matter who controls those trade routes?

This gets to a core contradiction in the South China Sea dispute: It is driven by territorial competition, yet all countries involved want open sea routes. Everyone benefits from the free flow of goods between Asia and the rest of the world, and everyone suffers if that is disrupted.

This is part of why the United States stresses freedom of movement in international waters. While it is very unlikely that China would ever want to close off trade, the United States would still rather not allow Beijing even the ability to hold the global economy hostage.

But, from China’s perspective, the United States itself has that ability, because of American naval dominance; the Chinese also suspect that the global status quo is engineered to serve Western interests first. So it is hardly surprising that China is seeking greater control over waterways it relies on for economic survival.

This is a dynamic that has permeated Sino-American relations throughout China’s rise over the past two decades. In theory, both nations understand they are better off cooperating. But in practice, they often treat each other as competitors or potential threats—a cycle that is difficult to break.

So this is about China’s rise?

In some ways, yes.

China sees itself as a growing power that has a right to further its interests in its own backyard, just as Western powers have done for centuries. Beijing considers the South China Sea an area of traditional Chinese influence, and sees its control as a way to assert greater power over the region.

Something Americans often miss is that for China, this is in part defensive.

The history of Western imperialism looms large. Chinese leaders often distrust the United States’ intentions, and consider their country to be the far weaker party. Extending Chinese control is a way to stave off perceived threats. TVJ

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