• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 7:59pm

'No problem' for Beijing if it ignores UN arbitration of Manila's territorial claim, experts say

Bad publicity seen as only drawback to not responding to Manila's territorial complaint

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 4:08am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 June, 2014, 8:49am

Maritime experts say Beijing is unlikely to face any consequences for refusing to respond to the Philippines' complaint to a United Nations arbitration tribunal over disputed waters in the South China Sea.

The only downside for China would be bad publicity.

"China's position that it will not accept or participate in the tribunal case involving the Philippines hasn't changed," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing yesterday.

The UN Permanent Court of Arbitration said on Tuesday it was giving China until December 15 to respond to the Philippines' complaint. Manila asked the court to uphold its right to exploit waters within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Beijing is insisting the issue can only be solved via direct talks.

In January last year, the Philippines brought its case before the international tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) without China's consent.

The Philippines yesterday reiterated its call for China to join the arbitration to achieve a peaceful and durable solution.

"We continue to urge China to reconsider its decision not to participate in the proceedings," foreign affairs department spokesman Charles Jose said.

China-based maritime experts said Beijing should maintain its stance, since it didn't need to risk the consequences of allowing the international tribunal to give a verdict on the dispute.

"If China shifted its stance to take part in the tribunal, it would encourage Hanoi to seek UN arbitration over its territorial disputes with Beijing too," said Zhang Mingliang, a Southeast Asian affairs expert at Jinan University.

"Of course, China's international reputation will be affected if it refuses to respect the UNCLOS."

Professor Wang Hanling, a maritime expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China declared in 2006 that it would not accept the jurisdiction of UNCLOS.

Professor Fu Kuen-chen, a Taiwanese expert in maritime law, said a UNCLOS decision was not legally binding. "In fact, it's not only China, but also France, the United States and many other countries who have refused to accept UNCLOS," Fu said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg, Reuters


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

The Chinese is land grabbing via mythological history. Their ridiculous 9 dash claim has no international basis whatsoever. Reason the Chinese are afraid of an international forum or court is because they probably would award the area around the rig’s location to Vietnam since its distance to the Vietnamese mainland (120 nautical miles) is only slightly greater than that to Woody Island (103 nautical miles). Past negotiations and arbitrations of maritime boundaries worldwide islands far larger than the Paracels have been given a third or less weight than mainland coasts. The Chinese would rather thieve than pursue this peaceful route.
Chinese= Thieves
Perhaps the best strategy of all for China: Once their reputation is ruined, they can and will do whatever they want!
It is a shame the so called "Great Powers" of the aftermath of the Second World War a.k.a Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, charged with maintaining International Security and Peace are:
1. the largest exporters of weapons
2. persistently ignores the will of the International Community and its legitimate institutions
3. developing and maintaining all forms of Weapons of Mass Destruction
These so called academics are nothing more than pompous and glorified, communist collaborators who have nothing to contribute. They're main duties are to ensure accurate and factual collection, processing and dissemination of facts and advise the CCP of their woeful conduct in the International arena, not just acquiesce to these dictators demands.
Shame on them and desist from calling oneself an academic!
Come on China, be brave and have some balls to follow the civilised path!

You came out so 100% against us...well done! Sorry we failed to rise to the occasion again...doubt we will ever do per your double standards...
To: "World Court"
From: China
Re: S China Sea Rocks Suits
Please call President Xi so that he would appoint 12 judges to preside over this suit and to close out this case asap. You have our numbers, call.
China is just a regional bully who has no courage to face the law.

Sorry we disappointed you again...won't be the last time I am afraid...have to say our Mr. Mao was even more disappointing to you...


SCMP.com Account