The international community reacts to the South China Sea ruling at The Hague

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 7:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 11:38pm

An international tribunal has found that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in the South China Sea.

Beijing did so by interfering with the Philippines’ fishing and petroleum exploration, building artificial islands in the waters and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone, according to the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday.

Below are a collection of reactions from countries throughout the region:


Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the tribunal’s decision is “legally binding” and all parties should comply with the ruling.

“As the tribunal’s award is final and legally binding ... the parties to this case are required to comply,” Kishida said in a statement, in an apparent reference to China which has rejected the ruling.

“Japan strongly expects that the parties’ compliance with this award will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea,” Kishida said.

“Japan has consistently advocated the importance of the rule of law and the use of peaceful means, not the use of force or coercion, in seeking settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.”


The US urged all parties to avoid provocative statements or actions after the ruling.

“The decision today by the Tribunal in the Philippines-China arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. He also urged parties to comply with the legally binding ruling and avoid provocations.


Vietnam welcomed the ruling and said that it strongly supports peaceful resolution of disputes, while reasserting its own sovereignty claims.

“Vietnam welcomes the arbitration court issuing its final ruling,” foreign ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, said in a statement.

“Vietnam strongly supports the resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea by peaceful means, including diplomatic and legal processes and refraining from the use or threats to use force, in accordance with international law.”

The ministry said it would issue a more detailed comment on the content of the ruling at a later time and reasserted Vietnam’s claim of sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly island, and its jurisdiction over its Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, has not yet released a formal statement, but did post the following message on Twitter: “#ASEAN position on the #SouthChinaSea is consistent: Member States reiterate & reaffirm commitment to the full implementation of the DOC (declaration of conduct).”

Reporting by Kyodo, Reuters