US, Japan affirm tribunal’s East Sea-related ruling legally binding

The State Department of the US on July 12 affirmed that the ruling made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’s lawsuit against China’s claims in the East Sea (known as the South China Sea) is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution.

us, japan affirm tribunal’s east sea-related ruling legally binding hinh 0
US State Department spokesperson John Kirby

The department spokesperson John Kirby stated that “the United States expresses its hope and expectation that both parties will comply with their obligations”. 

“The tribunal’s decision is final and legally binding on both China and the Philippines”, he added, urging all claimants “to avoid provocative statements or actions”. 

In another development on the same day, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also said that the PCA's decision is final and legally binding and that the two sides should comply with it. 

Kishida stated in a statement that Japan persistently supports the compliance with legal regulations and the use of peaceful means in settling disputes at sea.

On the day, the PCA in The Hague of the Netherlands issued the ruling on the case brought by the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. 

It affirmed that China’s claims to historic rights over waters within the nine-dash line are contrary to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

China has caused permanent and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem at the Spratly (Truong Sa) archipelago, and that it also has no historic title over waters of the South China Sea, the tribunal said. 

The Hague Tribunal also finds no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line. 

According to The Hague court, China has no rights to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surrounding the Mischief and Thomas reefs. 

The court defined “Ba Binh” feature in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago as a “rock” which means it has no EEZ. 

The PCA also underlined that China has interfered with the traditional fishing rights of the Philippines in Scarborough Shoal, highlighting that China’s actions have worsen disputes between the country and the Philippines when efforts have been made to resolve the disputes.


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