International Tribunal to Rule on Chinese South China Sea Claims
THE HAGUE (NSP) — An international arbitral tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, will soon rule on a case brought by the Philippines in 2013 disputing China’s claim of sovereignty over areas in the South China Sea.
The case is being heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. The Philippine’s has gained support from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Palestine and Afghanistan, among others, disagree with the action and believe bilateral talks should be considered.
Officials with the United States have urged their concern over man made islands being created in the region by China, believing they will be used for military bases. The Chinese government has disputed this claim and China has also decided to not accept any ruling by the tribunal, stating they believe the tribunal has no jurisdiction on the issue.
Some have compared the case to the 1986 case of Nicaragua v. United States in which Nicaragua sought reparations from the U.S. for it’s support of the Contras in their rebellion against Nicaraguan mining operations. In both cases a developing country is challenging a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in an arbitral tribunal.
In a report by USA Today reporter Kirk Spitzer, tensions in the region between the United States and China have been heightened. In one instance, Chinese intelligence gathering ships followed a U.S. carrier battle group, within visual range, for the entirety of the groups’ three-month patrol of the South China Sea.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Abraham M. Denmark spoke before two subcommittees of the House Armed Service Committee about the issue.
“We seek to keep lines of communication with Beijing open and improve our cooperation in areas of mutual interest and to speak candidly and constructively when we disagree,” Denmark said.
“We’ve increased our military presence and we’re ensuring our presence is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable,” Denmark said about the United States’ military presence in the region.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to announce its ruling on July 12.