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Beijing's claims to South China Sea rejected by court

by VTV413 July 2016 Last updated at 08:54 AM

China's ships conducting reclamation activities in Vietnam's Fiery Cross Reef  (Photo: EPA/VNA)
China's ships conducting reclamation activities in Vietnam's Fiery Cross Reef (Photo: EPA/VNA)

VTV.vn - The arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex seven of the UNCLOS in The Hague has ruled against Chinese claims to rights in the East Sea on Tuesday, backing a case brought by the Philippines.

This has been the very first ruling related to the East Sea dispute.

The tribunal concluded that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources. The tribunal also found that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’. Such claims go counter to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. 

The tribunal also found none of the sea features claimed by China were capable of generating an Exclusive Economic Zone - which gives country maritime rights to resources such as fish and oil and gas within 200 nautical miles of that land mass.

The Hague tribunal also condemned China’s land reclamation projects and its construction of artificial islands at seven features in the Spratly Islands, concluding that it had caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment and violated its obligation to preserve and protect fragile ecosystems and the habitat of depleted, threatened, or endangered species”.

The tribunal also said in its press release that it found that China’s recent large-scale land reclamation and construction of artificial islands was incompatible with the obligations of a state during dispute resolution proceedings, insofar as China has inflicted irreparable harm to the marine environment, built a large artificial island in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and destroyed evidence of the natural condition of features in the East Sea that formed part of the parties’ dispute.

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