Curtain falls on S.China Sea arbitration farce; Tribunal manipulators will be revealed


Foreign ministers of ASEAN member states and China at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. — VNA/VNS

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/i_J3TQKTXcc

The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Monday issued a joint communiqué, which didn’t breathe a word about the South China Sea arbitration, or harbor any overt criticism against China. Although the South China Sea issue was mentioned many times in the communiqué, it only gave a general overview of principles that must be stuck to. Most foreign media view the communiqué as a triumph for China’s diplomacy.

On the same day, a joint statement on how to effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was issued.

The two statements reflect the consistent stand of ASEAN. Attempts at pressuring China through the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting have failed.

As the first foreign ministers’ meeting after the so-called South China Sea arbitration award was issued, the US and Japan hoped to use the meeting in Laos to solicit ASEAN’s collective support for the arbitration and impose unprecedented diplomatic pressure on China. But such expectations do not correspond with the realities in East Asia.

Hype was running high among American and Japanese media that only Cambodia was standing in the way of a joint statement that incorporates the South China Sea arbitration, and Laos as the host country didn’t voice any firm opposition.

From another perspective, only the Philippines wanted a joint statement with reference to the arbitration, and Vietnam was not so persistent in its demands. Most ASEAN countries have maintained a neutral attitude. They neither want to see a division within the bloc, nor to be dragged into a conflict with China over arbitration.

Manila compromised this time, giving consent to a communiqué without mention of the arbitration. It showed flexibility compared with 2012, when the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting ended with no joint statement because the Philippines’ propositions over the South China Sea issue were firmly opposed.

It’s in the common interests of China and ASEAN to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. But the US and Japan are willing to see conflicts between China and the Philippines and Vietnam escalate. If the arbitration leads to overall confrontation between ASEAN and China, it will fullfil the desires of the US and Japan.

ASEAN won’t be so silly as to head toward a confrontation with China. We have carried out construction activities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, but with our utmost efforts to avoid confrontation.

The possibility of a military solution to the South China Sea dispute has become smaller and smaller. The arbitration has brought about new risks. Instead of a clash between China and the Philippines, or China and Vietnam, there are more worries about conflicts being sparked between China and the US.

Under such conditions, it could never be ASEAN’s desire to amplify the negative influences of the arbitration case. Two weeks after the arbitration result was announced, no other countries outside the region but the US, Japan and Australia have voiced support for it. The farce is coming to an end.- Global Times.

Political manipulation behind arbitral tribunal will be revealed

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/tUR7WVsmC7k

Spotlight: Chinese FM calls for end to politicization of South China Sea issue, urges parties to return to negotiations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that the political manipulation behind the arbitral tribunal will be revealed, in response to the comments made by some foreign ministers on the South China Sea arbitration case.

Wang expounded on China’s position when attending the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in the Lao capital Vientiane.

Wang said China has not participated in the arbitration case and will not accept the so-called ruling, a position that China has made clear since day one and is supported by strong legal basis.

By adopting this position, China is safeguarding the sanctity and impartiality of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), said the Chinese foreign minister.

First, the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government violated the principle of having the consent of concerned parties as the basis of arbitration and failed to meet the prerequisite of conducting full exchange of views beforehand, thus lacking the legal conditions to be initiated.

What the former Philippine government had done also abandoned bilateral agreements between China and the Philippines and violated Article 4 of the Declaration on Conducts of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as well as the principle of estoppel prescribed in international law, according to Wang.

Second, he said, the subject matters of the arbitration, however packaged, in fact directly concern territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation which are beyond the scope of the UNCLOS and the jurisdiction of the ad hoc tribunal. It is a typical act of overstepping the power and ultra vires as well as the abuse of dispute arbitration mechanism.

Wang said by citing a prominent legal expert from Europe that the arbitration case undoubtedly touches upon territorial sovereignty which is not governed by the UNCLOS. The tribunal’s practice of separating territorial sovereignty dispute with the status of islands and reefs is unseen in international law, which is like “putting the cart before the horse.”

Third, the ruling of the ad hoc tribunal is full of obvious mistakes, Wang said. It blatantly uses its self-invented rules to negate and deprive the lawful and legitimate territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests of parties concerned. In particular, it says that Taiping Dao, the largest island in the Nansha Islands with an area of 500,000 square meters, is a rock and has no relevant maritime rights.

If such a judgment can legally stand, the sea map of the world will need to be redrawn, Wang said.

Wang stressed that this ruling runs counter to the spirit of international rule of law as well as the principle and spirit of the UNCLOS.

“This arbitration is imbued with question marks and fallacies in terms of procedure, legal application, fact finding and evidence gathering,” he said.

The so-called ruling is illegal in three aspects: the initiation of the arbitration is illegal, the set-up of the tribunal is illegal, and the result of the arbitration is illegal. Therefore, China’s stance is fully legitimate which serves the purpose of upholding international equity and justice and regional peace and stability, Wang said.

The Chinese foreign minister said more and more countries have come to see the nature and danger of the arbitration case, and understand and acknowledge China’s stance to resolve disputes through direct negotiation and consultation, calling for respect to the rights of sovereign states to independently choose dispute settlement means including respecting the declaration on optional exceptions made under Article 298 of the UNCLOS.

There are also more and more legal experts around the world questioning the legality of the arbitration case and the fairness of the ruling, Wang said, noting that the illegal nature of the so-called South China Sea arbitration case and the political manipulation hidden behind the ad hoc arbitral tribunal will be further revealed. – Global Times

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https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/QWWBD8osZKQ

US agrees it’s time to ‘turn the page’ on South China Sea

US Secretary of State John Kerry says in Laos that he will encourage
Manila to pursue dialogue and negotiation with Beijing on the issue.

China-ASEAN exchanges go beyond the arbitration

The communiqué issued after the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos, shows the two sides want to work together for regional stability and prosperity.

 South China Sea arbitration turned a blind eye to UNCLOS, exceeded own competence and exposed tribunal’s ignorance

By now it’s a well-known fact that the South China Sea arbitration was unilaterally initiated by the[Read it]

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The Age of Uncertainty


We are entering the age of dealing with unknown unknowns – as Brexit and Turkey’s failed coup show

The dark future of Europe

THE Age of Uncertainty is a book and BBC series by the late Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, produced in 1977, about how we have moved from the age of certainty in 19th century economic thought to a present that is full of unknowns.

I still remember asking my economics professor what he thought of Galbraith, one of the most widely read economists and social commentator of his time. His answer was that Galbraith’s version of economics was too eclectic and wide-ranging. It was not where mainstream economics – pumped up by the promise of quantitative models and mathematics – was going.

Forty years later, it is likely that Galbraith’s vision of the future was more prescient than that of Milton Friedman, the leading light of free market economics – which promised more than it could deliver. The utopia of free markets, where rational man would deliver the most efficient public good from individual greed turned out to be exactly the opposite – the greatest social inequities with grave uncertainties of the future. Galbraith said, “wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding”. Perhaps he meant that poverty and necessity was the driver of change, if not of revolution.

The economics profession was always slightly confused over the difference between risk and uncertainty, as if the former included the latter. The economist Frank Knight (they don’t make economists like that anymore) clarified the difference as follows – risk is measurable and uncertainty is not. Quantitative economists then defined risk as measurable volatility – the amount that a variable like price fluctuated around its historical average.

The bell-shaped statistical curve that forms the conventional risk model used widely in economics assumes that there is 95% probability that fluctuations of price would be two standard deviations from the average or mean.

For non-technically minded, a standard deviation is a measure of the variance or dispersion around the mean, meaning that a “normal” fluctuation would be less than two; so if the standard deviation is say 5%, we would not expect more than 10% price fluctuation 95% of the time.

Events like Brexit shock us because the event gave rise to huge uncertainties over the future. Most experts did not expect Brexit – the variance was more than the normal. It was a reversal of a British decision to join the European Union, a five or more standard deviation event – in which the decision is a 180 degree turn. The conventional risk management models, which are essentially linear models that say that going forward or sequentially, the projected risk is up or down, simply did not factor in a reversal of decision.

In other words, we have moved from an age of risk to an age of uncertainty – where we are dealing with unknown unknowns.

There are of course different categories of unknowns – known unknowns (things that we know that we do not know), calculable unknowns (which we can estimate or know something about through Big Data) and the last, we simply do not know what we may never know.

Big Data is the fashionable phrase for churning lots of data to find out where there are correlations. The cost of big computing power is coming down but you would still have to have big databases to access that information or prediction. Most individuals like you and me would simply have to use our instincts or rely on experts to make that prediction or decision. Brexit told us that many experts are simply wrong. Experts are those who can convincingly explain why they are wrong, but they may not be better in predicting the future than monkeys throwing darts.


Five factors

There are five current factors that add up to considerable uncertainty – geopolitics, climate change, technology, unconventional monetary policy and creative destruction.

First, Brexit and the Turkish coup are geo-political events that change the course of history. In its latest forecasts on the world economy, the IMF has called Brexit “the spanner in the works” that may slow growth further. But Brexit was a decision made because the British are concerned more about immigration than nickels and dimes from Brussels. This is connected to the second factor, climate change.

Global warming is the second major unknown, because we are already feeling the impact of warmer weather, unpredictable storms and droughts. Historically, dynastic collapses have been associated with major climate change, such as the droughts that caused the disappearance of the Angkor Wat and Mayan cultures. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan and all are failing states because they are water-stressed. If North Africa and the Middle East continue to face major water-stress and social upheaval, expect more than 1 million refugees to flood northwards to Europe where it is cooller and welfare benefits are better.

The third disruptor is technology, which brings wondrous new inventions like bio-technology, Internet and robotics, but also concerns such as loss of jobs and genetic accidents.

Fourthly, unconventional monetary policy has already breached the theoretical boundaries of negative interest rates, where no one, least of all the central bankers that push on this piece of string, fully appreciate how negative interest rates is destroying the business model of finance, from banks to asset managers.

Last but not least, the Austrian economist Schumpeter lauded innovation and entrepreneurship as the engine of capitalism, through what he called creative destruction. We all support innovation, but change always bring about losses to the status quo. Technology disrupts traditional industries, and those disappearing industries will create loss in jobs, large non-performing loans and assets that will have no value.

Change is not always a zero-sum game, where one person’s gain is another’s loss. It is good when it is a win-win game; but with lack of leadership, it can easily deteriorate into a lose-lose game. That is the scary side of unknown unknowns.

I shall elaborate on how ancient Asians coped with change in the next article.

By Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng writes on global issues from an Asian perspective.

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China hardens after illegal tribunal ruling on South China Sea


In ignoring the verdict on the South China Sea, Beijing is following precedents by great powers as no permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever complied with a ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal on an issue involving the Law of the Sea.

 

Arbitration award

CHINA’S resolve on its sovereign claim to most of the South China Sea appears to harden after an international tribunal ruled against this new superpower in Asia.

On Tuesday, the international arbitratry at the Hague backed the Philippines’ argument that there was no legal basis for Beijing’s maritime claims.

The tribunal dismissed China’s vast claims in the vital waters, known to have vast oil and gas deposits.

From the start, China has insisted that it will ignore the tribunal decision.

It has also warned that increasing pressure on the issue could turn the resource-rich waters into a “cradle of war”.

Three days following the tribunal’s ruling, China’s state media reported that China may build mobile nuclear power plants in the South China Sea.

“China will soon start assembling its first maritime nuclear power platform and is expected to build 20 floating nuclear power stations in the future, which will largely beef up the power and water supplies on the South China Sea islands,” reported Global Times on Friday, citing China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC). (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/994578.shtml)

The state-owned Global Times added that “marine nuclear power platforms will be used” in the islands and reefs of the Spratly chain in the internationally contested sea.

And two days before the tribunal announcement, China had enhanced its military presence under the directive of President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Tokyo should stop “hyping up and interfering” in the South China Sea issue, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Li: Tokyo must respect China’s territorial sovereignty

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/HMP0a_ODVGU

https://youtu.be/HMP0a_ODVGU

Japan is not a state directly involved in the South China Sea issue, and thus should “exercise caution in its own words and deeds, and stop hyping up and interfering” in the issue, said Li.

Commenting on the decision of the tribunal in Hong Kong on Friday, a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said the award on the South China Sea arbitration had the effect of “pouring fuel on the flame”.

Xue Hanqin, while addressing a colloquium in Hong Kong, said: “Anyone can easily tell that this award will certainly aggregate the dispute between China and the Philippines, aggregate the current military tension between China and the US and definitely aggregate tension in the region.”

Indeed, countries in this region are keeping a close watch on the situation – paying particular attention to the actions of the United States, Japan and China.

The ruling of the tribunal – the legality and decision which has been questioned by academics from the East and West, has indeed caused an unprecedented level of tension in this part of the world since the Second World War.

This is despite the repeated assurance by China that it still prefers to resolve the disputes in the South China Sea via consultation and peaceful talks among the parties laying claims to the islands – which include Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

To many analysts, the United States and Japan cannot turn away from the responsibility of instilling instability as both have in recent years provoked disputes with Beijing and challenged China’s sovereign claims to the South China Sea waters.

Indeed, China’s stand on not recognising the tribunal’s decision has won resounding support from commentators who know the history of the region.

China’s sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea has been established in the course of history.

Until the 1930s, the United States had never regarded the South China Sea as part of the territory of the Philippines, according to professor of Political Science Peter Li of the University of Houston.

Li sees the tribunal’s award as “null and void”.

China’s rejection of and non-participation in the arbitration proceedings are in compliance with UNCLOS, which, adopted in the early 1980s, was not designed to settle territorial disputes.

Hence, arbitration over matters concerning the delineation of maritime boundaries is beyond the scope of the convention, Li opined.

The impartiality of the tribunal, headed by a Japanese, has also been questioned as it was biased from the start three years ago, he added.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/yeXCM7WcFxo

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xBt7QizIAGg

The professor blamed the award for “putting regional peace at risk” as it will encourage other parties to the dispute to seek a similar approach to buttress their claims to the South China Sea.

“A worse scenario is that countries from outside the region (the US) shall impose themselves on the region, thus making a peaceful resolution of the dispute even more remote.”

And according to The Diplomat, in ignoring the verdict on the South China Sea, Beijing is following precedents by great powers as no permanent member of the UN Security Council has ever complied with a ruling by the Tribunal on an issue involving the Law of the Sea.

Graham Allison, director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, noted in his writing: “In fact, none of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have ever accepted any international court’s ruling when (in their view) it infringed their sovereignty or national security interests. Thus, when China rejects the tribunal’s decision in this case, it will be doing just what the other great powers have repeatedly done.”

Amid all the tension, what is important is that China has issued a long white paper that essentially reiterates its aspiration to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. 

The United States and Britain have criticised Beijing on this issue, but they had forgotten the precedents they have set.

In the 1980s when Nicaragua sued Washington for mining its harbours, the United States argued that the ICJ did not have the authority to hear Nicaragua’s case.

When the court ruled in favour of Nicaragua and ordered the United States to pay reparations, the United States refused, and vetoed six UN Security Council resolutions ordering it to comply with the court’s ruling, according to The Diplomat.

Just last year the tribunal ruled that Britain had violated the Law of the Sea by unilaterally establishing a Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands. The British government disregarded the ruling, and remains in the Marine Protected Area.

In its commentary on Friday, Xinhua said the South China Sea arbitration “is just a start key for the United States having ulterior motives to agitate the South China Sea situation to reinforce its hegemony”.

“The superpower has always been trying to turn the western Pacific Ocean into its own sphere of influence, dreaming to turn the South China Sea into the Caribbean where its warships patrol at will.”

To increase its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of China’s growing economy and increasing influence, the United States has since 2009 began a rebalancing strategy to the Asia Pacific to contain China’s rise, exerts Xinhua.

The South China Sea arbitration is another plot hatched by the US government, as Alberto Encomienda, former secretary-general of Maritime and Ocean Affairs Center of the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department, had said the United States has instigated his country to initiate the arbitration.

But to the credit of the Philippines, its government under a newly elected president is adopting a softer and conciliatory line towards China as it calls for more economic cooperation with Beijing.

This floats the prospects of cutting down conflict in future.

Amid all the tension, what is important is that China has issued a long white paper that essentially reiterates its aspiration to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, jointly with Asean member countries.

By Ho Wah Foon The Star/Asia News Network

 

Related:

Arbitration: More questions than answers

On July 12th, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague made anaward in the South China Sea territorial dispute case filed by the Philippines. The tribunal itself and its subsequent award, have manypoints which have raised more questions than answers.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xBt7QizIAGg

Arbitration and award questionable

An award was made earlier this month over the South ChinaSea territorial dispute by The Hague-based arbitral tribunal consistingof five arbitrators.

 

China, the Philippines reached consensus on disputes

China has just released a white paper which reiterates thecountry’s position on resolving territorial disputes in the South ChinaSea through dialogue and negotiation. According to the white paper, China and the Philippines reached consensus in the past on resolving therelevant disputes that way.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/PvKQ5irjOFs

 

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China need not always win to be great


While it deserves to have a greater say in the world order, it should not be the only big winner. In its rush to assert itself on the global stage, it has simply reaped acquiescence

 

Chinese soldiers marking the Communist Party’s 95th anniversary in Heilongjiang province last month. In President Xi’s address, he said China will never compromise on its sovereignty. Standing up forcefully on the world stage has become a cornerstone of the country’s diplomacy. PHOTO: AGENCE-FRANCE PRESSE

BEIJING • In his address at the 95th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) this month, President Xi Jinping (pic) devoted an unusually lengthy part of his speech to foreign policy.

Speaking just days before a ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague on China’s claims in the South China Sea, most international media focused on him saying that China will never compromise on its sovereignty. The Chinese media, however, picked out certain phrases to highlight his vision for the country on the global stage.

One of them is “ren lei ming yun gong tong ti”, or a “community of common destiny for mankind”, a term Mr Xi has used at least 60 times since 2013.

Building this community is the “Chinese solution” for an international world order that emphasises mutual benefits, and will allow China to fulfil its responsibilities as a major country, said party mouthpiece People’s Daily in a commentary on Monday.

Another Chinese media analysis said China has come up with the “Chinese solution”, or “zhong guo fang an”, because it no longer wants to follow Western rules now that it has “a major country’s capabilities and self-confidence”.

Taken together, these points summarise China’s reimagining of its role as a “major country/great power” or “da guo” in recent years.

Although it became the world’s No. 2 economy in 2010, the Chinese have always debated whether their country is truly a great power. There is, however, little doubt in the mind of Mr Xi, who has more actively sought to answer the question: “So what should a great power do?”

Plenty, it seems. In recent years, standing up more forcefully on the world stage has become a corner- stone of the country’s diplomacy.

Last September, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) carried out a rare and massive display of its latest hardware through Tiananmen Square in a show of military prowess that unnerved neighbours in the region and countries further afield. That came amid a PLA restructuring and personnel reshuffle meant to improve its combat capabilities, as well as weapons deployment and land reclamation in the South China Sea.

Then last month, at a special meeting in Kunming between Asean and China’s foreign ministers, a planned joint press conference failed to take place after the Chinese applied pressure on a few Asean member states and caused the 10-member bloc to splinter over a proposed joint statement on the South China Sea.

Experts such as Nankai University analyst Liu Feng have pointed out that “China has been more inclined in recent years to use its coercive power to persuade neighbouring countries or to ensure that they indeed treat it with respect”. That is consistent with the observation that China has modified its foreign policy strategy to become more pro-active, shifting from the decades-old mantra of “tao guang yang hui” (keeping a low profile) to “fen fa you wei” (striving for achievement), a term Mr Xi used at a high-level diplomatic work conference in 2013.

Yet, what a great power can do and what it should do are different things – and both China’s leaders and its people seem increasingly interested only in the former while “striving for achievement”. That attitude extends to the Chinese public, as can be seen in the response of a fisherman from Hainan province who said in an interview in May: “Just attack them…, what are we afraid of?”

He was referring to the Philippines, which the tribunal ruled in favour of this week in the former’s disputes with China in the South China Sea. Many of these fishermen had clashed with the coast guard and fishermen from the Philippines during their expeditions to the Spratlys, which the Chinese government encourages as a way of safeguarding sovereignty.

It is not uncommon to see netizens comment on territorial disputes online with a single word “da” (attack), born from the angst of seeing “great power” China supposedly being pushed around by smaller countries. They feel that China’s might is not limited to the military either, often questioning what would happen if China decides to cut off trade ties or investment with another belligerent country. In short, now that we are strong, why do we need to play nice?

Yet, when it suits its cause, China (or its public) is quick to highlight that it is also a “rising power” – a developing country – hence relieving it of the international responsibilities that most expect a great power to shoulder.

Indeed, when Mr Xi committed US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) last September to a development fund for poor countries and said China would aim to increase investment in least-developed countries to US$12 billion by 2030, that effort to change China’s image as an international “free rider” swiftly came under fire. Why is China not helping its own poor, many Chinese asked. China is just a big country, not a rich country, others said.

None of that helps China’s standing on the global stage. In its rush to demand respect befitting of a great power, China has merely reaped acquiescence.

Just looking at Asean, for instance, closer economic cooperation with Beijing has failed to translate into mutual trust. If anything, it has been the opposite, with concerns growing about China’s readiness to wield its economic clout for geopolitical benefits. As one Western scholar observed, “China is a great power, but it doesn’t realise that being a great power doesn’t mean you need to ensure you win all the time”.

This is where China can perhaps heed a lesson it learnt from the remarkable feat it pulled off early this year, in opening the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which People’s Daily also sees as part of the “Chinese solution”. Few would have given it a chance when Mr Xi first mooted it in 2013, especially given the intense pressure that the United States had put on other countries not to join the bank. But the benefits of this new institution were apparent to the 57 that eventually signed up, in what became a major public relations coup for China.

No coercive action was needed when the countries could assess for themselves the AIIB’s merits, while being keenly aware of the limitations and associated biases in current international financial institutions.Two weeks on from Mr Xi’s address, the tribunal has ruled against China’s claims in the South China Sea and all eyes are on how forcefully it reacts. It should keep in mind that in recent years, assertive action has only served to push China’s neighbors further away from it. It is still questionable, on balance, how much “striving for achievement” and not following “Western rules” has gained for China, and if that is still a path worth going down.

China deserves to have a greater say in the world order and, as it has pointed out, there should be no objection to its attempts to build a new world order that emphasizes “mutual benefits and a non-zero sum game model”. In such a world, however, the great power should not be the only big winner.

By Teo Cheng Wee, China Correspondent The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting July 23~26, last chance for peace in South China Sea?


HERE are three significant ironies in the South China Sea arbitration award which have not been picked up in the already voluminous reviews of the ruling in the case between the Philippines and China.

If properly plucked, they could form the basis for moving forward in a situation which shows all the potential of turning ugly.

The first is the distinction the arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) highlights between “historic rights” and “historic title.” While China lost in its claim to historic rights to resources in the South China Sea – deemed extinguished when states acceded to the regime under UNCLOS – it is worth noting nonetheless China does not claim to any “historic title.”

Even if the tribunal observed “historic title” can only be claimed over bays and other near-shore waters under UNCLOS, the fact remains China claims historic rights to resources within the ninedash line but not historic title.

The negative irony – at least from China’s point of view – is that had Beijing claimed historic title, the case brought to the tribunal by the Philippines in January 2013, which China contends is outside its jurisdiction on so many other grounds, could have been exempted from that jurisdiction under Article 298 of UNCLOS as a dispute concerning “historic title”.

Whether or not someone blundered in the Chinese foreign ministry, a reflection on the South China Sea dispute from the time of Deng Xiaoping, when he wisely counselled the issue of sovereignty should be set aside in negotiation to forge collaboration, would show the predisposition, lost in recent years of raw emotion, had always been to work together in the South China Sea.

This is a positive irony that could be gleaned by involved parties from last Wednesday’s tribunal award, to move forward.

The second noteworthy point that could be positively constructed from the award is the passage on the Second Thomas Shoal in response to the request from the Philippines (the 14th of its 15 submissions) for tribunal adjudication. The tribunal ruled that compulsory settlement is excluded from a dispute where military activities are involved.

China has of course been vociferous on the tribunal not having jurisdiction to hear the case brought by the Philippines. But just imagine if China had not asserted that its South China Sea activities, like reclamation and even militarisation, were not peaceful in intent but military in nature to stake its claims. Quite conceivably the tribunal might have ruled it indeed did not have jurisdiction!

Be that as it may, China has been consistent about its peaceful intentions. The occasion of the tribunal’s award should be made the point from which to push hard, through negotiation, for peaceful ends.

The third irony that could be made to have a positive twist is yet another argument by China on exclusion of the tribunal’s jurisdiction, which was rejected – the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in 2002 between China and Asean.

The tribunal rightly found that the DOC was a political, not a legal, document. Therefore its invocation for negotiation does not preclude legal settlement under UNCLOS.

Actually, it was China itself (and Malaysia) that did not want the DOC to be legally binding. Instead of talking about the chicken coming home to roost however, might this not be the opportune time to push together – both China and Asean – for the legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) and even make the overarching DOC a legal agreement?

The Asean Foreign Minsters Meeting and the Post Ministerial Conference with Dialogue Partners, including China of course, take place in Vientiane on July 23-26. Asean foreign ministries should be working furiously with one another and with China to make something positive happen in Laos.

Construct the positives. Avoid the negatives. Drive the meetings in clear direction. Asean, do not be helpless and hopeless.

Do not allow anything to happen that is gloating, taunting and flaunting. Make sure words at the meetings like “rebuke”, “chastise” and “outlaw in unequivocal terms” – which have dominated commentaries in the West – are avoided. Ensure there is no attack on anybody, including the tribunal. Show China particularly all Asean is interested to do is to move forward with it on the South China Sea issue in good faith.

All this is not easy to achieve. But it is a facet of Asean centrality that is called for more than ever before. As Asean chairs these meetings, the preparation for these outcomes must be pursued vigorously NOW in a truly focused manner.

Asean should take the lead. Laos should be given full support in preparing for the meetings. And China should be engaged before the meetings begin.

If thorough preparation and discussion do not take place before hand, there is grave danger the meetings will end up in disarray, including – again – the Asean meeting. There is no point trying to come out with an Asean joint statement on the arbitration award at this stage, as there will be no long-distance consensus when one cannot be achieved even when sitting down together. A meaningless joint statement would be just that – meaningless.

Malaysia has come out with its own statement, which is fine. The Singapore foreign minister has made a carefully crafted statement in the island republic’s Parliament. The new Philippines government has also been circumspect, showing restraint and responsibility in its hour of “victory”. And will send no less than a former president for talks with China.

China had time to expect the ruling. After giving vent to its fury, China should also calm down and work with Asean, as it has always said it would, and has again said it would in the wake of the arbitral award.

But which Asean? Asean must form a consensus on how to move forward. Singapore, which represents Asean in relations with China, should take the lead. When Asean foreign ministers failed to come out with that joint statement in 2012, Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia – not a South China Sea claimant state – scrambled a sixpoint agreement with what he called a zero-draft COC.

At this time, in this hour of crisis, the need for such leadership has never been greater. It is critical that Asean plays its role if it is not to drop off the horizon.

By Munir Majid comment Viewpoint

 

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UN distances itself from Permanent Court of Arbitration, had No role in Philippines case vs China


国际法院(ICJ)在此希望媒体和公众注意,南海仲裁案(菲律宾共和国与中华人民共和国)裁决结果由常设仲裁法院(PCA)提供秘书服务下的一个特别仲裁庭做出。相关信息请访问PCA网站(www.pca-cpa.org)。国际法院作为完全不同的另一机构,至始至终未曾参与该案,因此在国际法院网站上无法查询到相关信息。

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wishes to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the Award in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China) was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The relevant information can be found on the PCA’s website (www.pca-cpa.org). The ICJ, which is a totally distinct institution, has had no involvement in the above mentioned case and, for that reason, there is no information about it on the ICJ’s website.

A screenshot of the official Sina Weibo account of the UN which states that the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration independent from the UN. [Photo: Weibo.com]

The United Nations has made it clear that it had nothing to do with the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

A tribunal, which was established and registered at the PCA, issued an ill-founded award on Tuesday through the abuse of law on the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013.

In a post on its official Twitter-like Sina Weibo account on Wednesday, the United Nations pointed out that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the UN’s principal judicial organ, which was set up in June 1945 in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The post added that the ICJ is a totally distinct institution from the PCA and it had no involvement in the above mentioned case.

In fact, the PCA in The Hague just happens to be neighbors with the ICJ, as both are located in the Peace Palace in The Hague in the Netherlands. Of the six major organs of the United Nations, the ICJ is the only one located outside New York City in the United States, the headquarters of the United Nations.

 UN distances itself from Permanent Court of Arbitration

The International Court of Justice has taken the unusual step of distancing itself from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which ruled on the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines against China in 2013, concerning the South China Sea disputes.

In a statement in both English and Chinese on its website the IJC said it wished to draw the attention of the media and the public to the fact that the award was issued by an Arbitral Tribunal acting with the secretarial assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and that no further information would be found on its website.

A former judge of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, Abdul G. Koroma, says the only link between the two bodies is their base in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

“The Permanent Court of Arbitration, the PCA, and the International Court of Justice share the same building in The Hague which is called the Peace Palace. So it’s not very easy for a non-lawyer to be able to make the distinction between the two bodies.”

The former judge added the purpose of any arbitral settlement is to bring peaceful resolution of a conflict, rather than for any political motives.

The United Nations has also made it clear that the Permanent Court of Arbitration is not one of its organs. – http://english.cri.cn/index.htm

UN International Court had no role in Philippines case

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rushed to dispel the myth that it was involved in the South China Sea arbitration case filed by the Philippines, just as the United Nations made a similar online clarification.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/L1codx6AsR4

The ICJ, the UN”s principal organ of justice, issued a notice on its website that it is “a totally distinct institution” from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which offered secretarial assistance to the Arbitral Tribunal that ruled on the case. The ICJ said it “has had no involvement in” that case.

It pointed out that it has posted no information about the case on its website and said that anyone seeking such information must refer to the PCA’s website.

On Wednesday, the UN said on its Sina Weibo micro blog that it “has nothing to do with” the PCA, though the ICJ is located in the Peace Palace in The Hague, as is the PCA.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Thursday that these clarifications “show there is no legitimacy or representativeness to how the temporary tribunal was composed and operated, as well as show that its so-called ruling has no authority or credibility at all, and is totally invalid and not binding.

“It seems that this also is the reason why after this illegal ruling came out, only three or four countries wishfully claimed that it was ‘legally binding’,” Lu said.

Zhao Jianwen, a researcher at the Institute of International Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the reason the UN and the ICJ made such statements is that they “want to stay clear” of the ruling in the arbitration case, which, as Zhao said quoting Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, might become “a notorious case”.

Zhao said “All of the tribunal’s expenses were paid by the Philippines, including its arbitrators’ wages, and these experts’ opinions are not neutral”. Also, the tribunal has no substantive relation with the PCA, he added.

The only relation between them is that the PCA offered secretarial service to the tribunal and the tribunal was held in the PCA’s hall, Zhao explained.

Zhao pointed out that the Arbitral Tribunal was a temporary one set up specially for proceeding the South China Sea case, and its work was “virtually done” once the ruling was issued.

By Wang Qingyun | China Daily | Beijinghttp: via The Jakarta Post: //www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/07/15/un-international-court-had-no-role-in-philippines-case.html

Arbitral court not a UN agency

The United Nations said on Wednesday it has nothing to do with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which set up a tribunal that handled the South China Sea arbitration case the Philippines filed unilaterally in 2013.

In a post on its Sina Weibo micro blog, the UN said the PCA is a “tenant” of the Peace Palace in The Hague, “but has nothing to do with the UN”.

The UN said the International Court of Justice, its principal judicial organ set up according to the Charter of the UN, is also located in the Peace Palace.

The construction of the palace was managed by the Carnegie Foundation, which is still the building’s owner and manager, according to the Peace Palace website.

The UN said it makes an annual donation to the foundation for using the Peace Palace.

When asked about the Arbitral Tribunal’s case’s ruling on Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits” of the South China Sea arbitration case.

In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China will, as always, observe the goals and principles set up by the Charter of the UN, and solve maritime disputes peacefully by having talks with countries directly involved, “on the basis of firmly guarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”.

Lu said: “China is a responsible member of the international community. It’s an important advocate and loyal implementer of the UN’s cause to push forward the international rule of law.” Li Jinming, a professor of international maritime law at Xiamen University, pointed out that the use of terms such “UN tribunal” or “UN-backed tribunal” – frequently reported by Western media – is incorrect, as they confuse the PCA with the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Wang Hanling, a maritime law researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said some countries and news media are “deliberately” confusing the tribunal with the ICJ./rga

-Inquirer.net

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China issues white paper on settling disputes with Philippines in South China Sea

China is committed to upholding int’l rule of law

The Chinese government has issued a white paper on the arbitration ruling. It contains more than 20,000 Chinese characters and says the Philippines’ territorial claim over part of the Nansha Islands, is groundless from the perspective of either history or international law.

Full Text: Chinese version;English version;French version 

BEIJING, July 13, 2016 (Xinhua) — Photo taken on July 13, 2016 shows the white paper titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea” issued by Chinese government in Beijing, capital of China. “The Philippines’ territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law,” said the document issued by the State Council Information Office on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)

BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a white paper to expound on its position, which calls for settling relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea through negotiation.

“It is the Philippines that has created and stirred up trouble,” said Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin at a press conference held Wednesday to introduce the white paper.

“Violating bilateral consensus in recent years, the Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that complicate and intensify relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea,” he said.

The white paper, titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea,” was published one day after an award was issued in arbitration unilaterally initiated by the previous Philippine government.

Describing the award as “a piece of waste paper,” Liu urged other countries not to “take the opportunity to threaten China.”

China hopes other countries can work with it to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea and “not let the South China Sea become the origin of a war,” he said.

The vice minister also said China reserves the right to declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea in accordance with the extent of the threat.

The white paper issued by the State Council Information Office stated that the core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines’ invasion and illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands).

As the international law of the sea developed, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between the two states regarding certain areas of the South China Sea, it added.

“The Philippines’ territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law,” it said.

The two countries held multiple rounds of consultations on the proper management of disputes at sea and reached consensus on resolving relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation, which has been repeatedly reaffirmed in a number of bilateral documents, according to the white paper.

In 2013, the then-government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration.

By doing so, the Philippines has violated its standing agreement with China to settle relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, violated China’s right to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and abused the UNCLOS dispute settlement procedures, it said.

“The Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines’ unilateral request has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it are null and void and have no binding force,” said the document.

“China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China does not accept or recognize those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” it added.

The white paper also explained that Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) are China’s inherent territory, saying the activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back more than 2,000 years.

China is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them.

“China’s sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law,” it said.

China abides by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and is committed to upholding and promoting international rule of law. It respects and acts in accordance with international law, the white paper said.

While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China adheres to the position of settling disputes through negotiation and consultation and managing differences through rules and mechanisms, it added.

“China endeavors to achieve win-win outcomes through mutually beneficial cooperation, and is committed to making the South China Sea a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship,” it said.

In the white paper, China urges countries outside the region to respect the efforts by countries in the region and to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.

During the press conference, Liu reiterated that settling relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea through negotiation is the theme of Wednesday’s white paper, as well as the policy of the Chinese government.

“We hope to work with countries surrounding the South China Sea, including ASEAN members, abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and maintain peace and stability as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea,” Liu said.

Liu noted that this policy has not changed and will not change. He called on the Philippines to return to the track of negotiation, saying it is the only solution to resolve disputes. – Xinhua

China issues white paper on settling disputes with the Philippines

Video:  https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/GmDJNOpizZ0

Manila wants to https://youtu.be/Cvt4xjyWH7Yentrench illegal occupation of islands and reefs

Beijing: The Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that have complicated the maritime disputes in an attempt to “entrench its illegal occupation of some islands and reefs” of the South China Sea, said a whitepaper issued by China.

The whitepaper, released yesterday by China’s State Council Information Office, accused the Philippines of “having increasingly intensified its infringement of China’s maritime and interests”.

“The Philippines also has territorial pretensions on China’s Huangyan Dao and attempted to occupy it illegally,” said the whitepaper, which has elaborated the current situation and China’s policy on the South China Sea issue.

The five-chapter whitepaper was released after the Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) in The Hague, announced on Tuesday that China has no “historic title” over the South China Sea.

The Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration is “an act of bad faith”, said the whitepaper.

China maintains that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly upheld by China and Asean member states, said the whitepaper.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday that the ruling “is null and void and has no binding force”.

Beijing issued two statements immediately after the arbitration ruling was announced. Noting that Chinese activities in the South China Sea date back more than 2,000 years, one statement pointed out that China is the first to have disco­vered, named, explored and exploited the South China Sea Islands and surrounding waters.

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China is committed to resolving disputes through direct negotiations, but its national sove­reignty and maritime interests will not be influenced under any circumstances by the South China Sea ruling.

The South China Sea Islands have been China’s territory since ancient times, and China refuses to accept any claims or activities based on the arbitral ruling, Xi said while meeting in Beijing with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that China must accept a verdict declaring its South China Sea claims are invalid that the go­vernment and needs to halt its artificial island building in the disputed waters.

She added that Beijing risked re­putational harm if it ignored the ruling.

“We call on both the Philippines and China to respect the ruling, to abide by it. It is final and legally binding on both of them,” Bishop told national broadcaster ABC.

“This treaty, the Law of the Sea, codifies pre-existing international custom. It’s a foundation to maritime trade and commerce globally, and so to ignore it would be a se­­rious international transgression.

“There would be strong reputational costs. China seeks to be a regional and global leader and requires friendly relations with its neighbours. That’s crucial to its rise.”

China warned other countries yesterday against threatening its security in the South China Sea.

Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said while introducing the policy paper that Beijing could declare an air defence identification zone over the waters if it felt threatened, a move that would sharply escalate tensions.

But Beijing also extended an olive branch to the new Philippine go­vernment, saying the South-East Asian nation would benefit from cooperating with China. — China Daily/Asia News Network/Agencies

South China Sea ruling angers Republic of China, Taiwan

Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Cvt4xjyWH7Y

TAIPEI: President Tsai Ing-wen vows to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty after the ruling from The Hague.

Tsai boarded a South China Sea-bound warship and addressed its crew while touring a naval base yesterday morning, less than a day after a controversial international ruling on the area.

“This vessel represents the Republic of China and the uniform that you are wearing represents what Taiwanese citizens have entrusted to you,” Tsai told crew members on the deck of the Kang Ding-class frigate, which departed on the routine patrol mission soon afterwards.

In addition, Tsai said, the patrol represents Taiwanese citizens’ determination to safeguard the country’s interests.

The rare presidential tour of a warship came after an arbitral tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday deemed South China Sea formations that are key to Chinese territorial claims to be rocks, rather than islands.

While Taiwan was not a party to the case, the ruling is problematic as it included Taiping Island (also known as Itu Aba) and other locations claimed by the government.

Tsai noted that the routine patrol was being launched a day ahead of schedule and said that its significance was unlike that of any previous mission, saying the situation in the South China Sea had changed on Tuesday.

“We have always sought to see the disputes in the South China Sea be settled peacefully through multilateral negotiations,” she said.

“We are also willing, through negotiations conducted on the basis of equality, to work with all states concerned to advance peace and stability in the South China Sea.” — The China Post/Asia News Network

China’s Response to the South China Sea Arbitration Ruling

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/vtvRkyjL4wQ

Arbitral court not a UN agency

Arbitration tribunal not linked to UN

 Arbitral Tribunal on South China Sea Disputes not Primary Judicial Branch of UN: Former ICJ Judge

Video:  https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/L1codx6AsR4

Earlier we spoke to Professor Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea at
Nanjing University. He explained more about the legitimacy of the tribunal in the Hague to issue the award in the South China Sea case.

The United Nations said on Wednesday it has nothing to do with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which set up a tribunal that handled the South China Sea arbitration case the Philippines filed unilaterally in 2013.

In a post on its Sina Weibo micro blog, the UN said the PCA is a “tenant” of the Peace Palace in The Hague, “but has nothing to do with the UN”.

The UN said the International Court of Justice, its principal judicial organ set up according to the Charter of the UN, is also located in the Peace Palace.

The construction of the palace was managed by the Carnegie Foundation, which is still the building’s owner and manager, according to the Peace Palace website.

The UN said it makes an annual donation to the foundation for using the Peace Palace.

When asked about the Arbitral Tribunal’s case’s ruling on Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday “The UN doesn’t have a position on the legal and procedural merits” of the South China Sea arbitration case.

In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China will, as always, observe the goals and principles set up by the Charter of the UN, and solve maritime disputes peacefully by having talks with countries directly involved, “on the basis of firmly guarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”.

Lu said: “China is a responsible member of the international community. It’s an important advocate and loyal implementer of the UN’s cause to push forward the international rule of law.”

Li Jinming, a professor of international maritime law at Xiamen University, pointed out that the use of terms such “UN tribunal” or “UN-backed tribunal”-frequently reported by Western media-is incorrect, as they confuse the PCA with the UN’s ICJ.

Wang Hanling, a maritime law researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said some countries and news media are “deliberately” confusing the tribunal with the ICJ.

China questions neutrality of judges

PETALING JAYA: China has questioned the neutrality and appointment of judges of an arbitral tribunal in The Hague which ruled in favour of the Philippines over their Spratly Islands dispute.

Selection Dispute: China is crying foul over appointments made by Shunji Yanai.

China Foreign vice-minister Liu Zhenmin questioned the “procedural justice” of the appointment and the operation of the tribunal, South China Morning Post reported.

The tribunal was formed after the Philippines filed a case with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITCLOS) in 2013 after a stand-off with China at the Scarborough Shoal the previous year.

Of the five judges, one was selected by the Philippines and the rest by Shunji Yanai (pic), the then president of ITCLOS, which was established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This was reportedly due to China’s refusal to take part or recognise the tribunal.

Yanai was not among the panel of arbitrators.

“Leaving aside the obvious violation of procedural justice, we can hardly make a better explanation of judge Yanai’s motivation and purpose other than that he did it on purpose,” Liu said.

Born in Tokyo on Jan 15, 1937, Yanai read law at the University of Tokyo.

He served in the foreign ministry and was Japan’s ambassador to Washington.

He was also chairman of a panel which advised Japan’s government to revise its constitution to allow military action overseas.

The arbitral tribunal on Tuesday ruled that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone through its large-scale activities in the South China Sea.

The tribunal arbitrators included Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana, Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Stanislaw Pawlak of Poland, Prof Alfred H.A. Soons from Holland and Rüdiger Wolfrum from Germany. – By Wang Qingyun (China Daily)

Who is Shunji Yanai?

Fire has been focused on the person who picked the arbitrators – Japanese judge Shunji Yanai, who has been branded a “rightist” and “unfriendly to China”.

Foreign Vice-minister Liu Zhenmin questioned the “procedural justice” of the appointment

China has refused to take part in the proceedings, and in its absence, four of the five arbitrators were appointed by Yanai, who at the time the case was filed in 2013 was president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The other one was named by the Philippines.

Yanai should have avoided involvement given the territorial and maritime disputes between China and Japan in the East China Sea, and Tokyo’s attempts to involve itself in the South China Sea issue.

Yanai has long been a figure of scorn among nationalist Chinese. A commentary by Xinhua described Yanai, a former senior Japanese foreign ministry official who also served as the country’s ambassador to Washington, as a “typical rightist, hawkish figure”.

In 2007, during Shinzo Abe’s first term as Japanese prime minister, Yanai served as chairman of a panel set up to advise Abe on his plan to revise the constitution to allow military action overseas. “South Korea also expressed its concerns over Yanai’s presidency of ITLOS as it also has territorial disputes with Japan,” Xinhua said.

Soon after the appointment of the tribunal, Yanai told Japanese broadcaster NHK that the islands of Japan were under enemy threat, according to a research report by the Chinese Initiative on International Law, a Hong Kong and Hague-registered NGO whose members are legal professionals and academics.

Although Yanai did not explicitly name the “enemy”, such a statement was clear enough for China to raise concerns over his impartiality in the case, the report said.

In his article in Qiushi, Liu also cast doubt on the make-up of the tribunal, saying none of the five judges – one African and four Europeans – had knowledge of the history and international order of ancient East Asia.

But Yanai’s involvement could have been avoided. If China had decided to take part in the proceedings, it could have named one of the tribunal’s arbitrators and jointly appointed three others in agreement with the Philippines.

Blustering US a paper tiger in S.China Sea

After the illegally organized arbitration tribunal issued the award in the South China Sea arbitration Tuesday, the US voiced the strongest support for it. Spokespersons from both the US Department of State and the White House successively claimed that the award was legally binding. More politicians and congressmen from the House and Senate have also made fiercer remarks, demanding regular challenges to China’s excessive maritime claims through naval and air patrols. Japan’s stance is precisely the same as that of the US, as if they have discussed their lines.

On the contrary, the Philippines’ attitude is relatively mild. It described the award as a “milestone decision” and called for restraint. An old Chinese saying goes “The emperor doesn’t worry but his eunuch does,” meaning the outsider is more anxious than the player. In this case, Washington and Tokyo are the worrying eunuchs. But so far, there is no US rhetoric demanding the White House and Pentagon bludgeon China to suspend construction activities on some islands and reefs in the South China Sea. The calls for the use of force have only been heard when the US clamored to safeguard the “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea, which mirrors that the US hasn’t made the determination to use the arbitration for a showdown with China in the waters.

It should be noticed that the arbitration tribunal is not a permanent court for arbitration, but a temporary institution for the South China Sea case established against the spirit of international law. It also has nothing to do with the UN. Many Chinese scholars believe that after the final award, the issue will gradually cool down. If there are no big moves from Manila, Washington and Tokyo, the case will literally become nothing but a piece of paper.

The new Philippine government has more than once showed its hope of resolving the disputes with China through peaceful negotiations. In fact, it has no strength to take risky measures. The US and Japan might want to encourage Manila to take a tougher stance against Beijing, yet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not necessarily willing to be their pawn.

It seems that the US will have to go it alone if it wants to escalate tensions in the South China Sea. Japan wants to step in, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not have the nerve.

It is possible that the White House might conduct more proactive actions more frequently under the name of freedom of navigation. It might try to sail its warships to get increasingly closer, or even exercises within 12 nautical miles of the islands claimed and constructed by China.

China will never indulge the US military to do so. The People’s Liberation Army should enhance its military deployment in the waters of the Nansha Islands and be fully prepared to counterattack if the US makes further provocations. Some say that the US is taking China’s response over the arbitration award as a touchstone of Beijing’s willingness to follow Washington’s instruction to abide by international rules. For China, however, whether the US refrains from clashes and hostility in the waters will tell whether it respects China genuinely. We do not wish for any direct confrontation or friction between the military powers from the two countries. But if Washington insists on doing so, we will never flinch.- Global Times.

Related: 

The South China Sea arbitration unilaterally submitted by the Philippines is a political farce under[Read it]

 South China Sea arbitration tribunal for being political tool

The award on the South China Sea dispute has proven that the arbitration tribunal has degenerated in[Read it]

Arbitration award more shameless than worst prediction

The Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague announced its award over the South China Sea disputes on Tuesday, with the final verdict
more radical and shameless than many people had ever expected. All Chinese people are outraged by this illegal verdict and the world’s peace-loving public is astonished by the biased decision that may escalate regional tensions.

Stay sober-minded in face of manipulated ruling

The arbitral tribunal’s award on Tuesday, which tries to deny China’s
historic claims in the South China Sea and wipe out its rights to
resources there, marked an end to the farce disguised as law.

 

Inherently biased and unjust ‘piece of paper’

Just as anticipated, the South China Sea arbitral tribunal in The
Hague delivered an outrageously one-sided ruling in the case initiated
by the Philippines.

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