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Reconsidering the Role of Arbitration in South China Sea

2016-02-21 13:04:53       source:China-US Focus

"In the Arbitration between Republic of Philippines v. the People's Republic of China, the Tribunal ruled on October 29, 2015, that the case was 'properly constituted' under the United Nationals Convention on the Law of the Sea, and China's 'Non-appearance' did not prevent the Court's accepting jurisdiction. On November 30, the Tribunal concluded the hearing on the merits and remaining issues of jurisdiction and admissibility in the arbitration.

The latest development of the arbitration case puts China in the hot seat with overwhelming media and analyst assessment hinting that China will lose in this case. While celebrating the 'legal and moral victory', however, many analysts seem to overlook an important element in assessing these developments, which is the legal and political implications arising from them. Clearly reading China's rationale in its choice not to participate in the arbitral procedures is helpful to objectively assess the post-arbitration trajectory developments in the South China Sea."

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Dr. Nong HONG heads the Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS), an independent, non-profit academic institution based in Washington D.C. She also holds a joint position of research fellow with National Institute for South China Sea Studies, China Institute, University of Alberta, and the China Center for Collaborated Studies on the South China Sea, Nanjing University.