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International tribunal finds in favour of Philippines claims in South China Sea

Related Member(s):
Prof. Philippe Sands QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Arbitration, Public and Private International Law

An arbitration tribunal in The Hague has ruled on Chinese activity in the South China Sea, finding in favour of the Philippines’ claims that China’s activity in the region is against international law.

The Philippines accused China of building artificial islands and obstructing ships in the region amongst other claims. The tribunal ruled that large areas of the South China Sea is neutral international waters, with China having no historic rights to resources in the region.

Philippe Sands QC, representing the Philippines, commented: “The tribunal has delivered a clear and unanimous judgment that upholds the rule of law and the rights claimed by the Philippines. China’s 9 dash line has been held to be unlawful, none of the maritime features has the rights claimed by China, and China has been found to have caused severe and unlawful damage to the environment. The judgment is legally binding and provides a definitive ruling on which all states can place reliance. The award provides the way forward to help all states in the region resolve their differences, in future negotiations.”

For further information, please see the following press release: Permanent Court of Arbitration Press Release