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Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China

Recently, the Permanent Court of Arbitration placed in The Hague, The Netherlands has issued its third Procedural Order for the case between the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China. Down here the Southchinasea.com has edited and brought out the full text of the third Procedural Order.

A Paper Melee in the Philippines v. China Arbitration

SCSC - Today’s deadline for the submission of China’s counter - memorial in the Philippines v. China arbitration has created a four - cornered melee of positions papers over one of the key issues in dispute, the legality of China’s nine - dash line claim.

The United States weighed in first on December 5th with the release of its Limits in the Seas paper, declaring the nine - dash line to be internationally acceptable only as a claim to islands within the line; any maritime zones within the lines must be in accordance with UNCLOS. This necessarily criticized China’s ambiguity about the lines and denied the validity of more extensive claims to historic title or historic rights that it sometimes expressed directly or through advocates. [READ MORE]

China snubs court deadline in West Philippine Sea case

 SCSC - MANILA, Philippines - China has officially ignored an international court deadline to defend its expansive territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang reiterated on Monday that his country will neither accept nor participate in the South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

China was given until December 15 to submit its counter - memorial to the United Nations arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. [READ MORE]

Vietnam Files Statement of Interest with the Permanent Court of Arbitration

SCSC - In a statement Thursday, December 11, the Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said that Hanoi has asked the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague to take Vietnam’s legal interests and rights into consideration when evaluating the evidence in the Philippines case against China in the South China Sea under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) compulsory dispute mechanism. What does this move by Vietnam mean? Is Vietnam really following the Philippines’ path by seeking international arbitration? Does it mean that there is a consensus in the Vietnam Politburo on the issue?

Vietnam has filed a formal statement of interest with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). This statement is not a “statement of claim” as made by the Philippines in January 2013 but a statement of interest in the China - Philippines case before the arbitral tribunal. [READ MORE]

Beijing's South China Sea objective is clear: To extend control

SCSC - Within China's bureaucratic system, sometimes it is in an agency's interest to compete with others, rather than coordinate, in order to advance its own bureaucratic power and receive more funding.

Linda Jakobson's recent Lowy Report, China's Unpredictable Maritime Security Actors, highlights this phenomenon between maritime agencies. Such a bureaucratic shortfall could explain to some degree China's behavior in the South China Sea, particularly why China's maritime enforcement agencies are increasingly ready to confront vessels of other claimants in disputed waters. [READ MORE]

Don't Be Fooled by China's Cooperation Lately. Xi Jinping Wants to Reform the International Order.

SCSC - Last month, China showed its cooperative side to the international community. It struck an ambitious climate deal with the U.S. that President Xi Jinping announced alongside President Obama. It took a seat at the P5+1 talks in Vienna to negotiate a path forward for Iran’s nuclear program. And it responded to the United Nation’s call for aid to Ebola - ravaged West Africa by sending an elite unit of People’s Liberation Army troops and aid workers. “That’s global leadership, and that’s important, and that cooperation with us is more than welcome”, Secretary of State John Kerry said in early November of China’s increasing role in international crises.

But this doesn't mean China’s buying fully into the West's international order. [READ MORE]

South China Sea Dispute: Philippines And Vietnam Allies In Position Papers Against China

SCSC - Vietnam and the Philippines expressed support for each other this week against claims made by China in the hotly disputed South China Sea area. The battle over a cluster of resource - rich islands and strategic maritime territories in Southeast Asia is now being fought before an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Vietnam took its dispute with China to the legal venue when Hanoi filed a formal submission with the arbitration tribunal challenging a position paper Beijing submitted Dec. 7. [READ MORE]

Natuna Is Indonesian, Not Chinese: Jokowi Adviser

SCSC - A senior adviser to Indonesia’s new president insists the country’s sovereignty is not up for negotiation.

Indonesia will remain firm in protecting its sovereignty on maritime issues ranging from the South China Sea to illegal fishing, a senior adviser to Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said Tuesday.

“The sovereignty of Indonesia cannot be negotiated…we are very, very firm on this”, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, former commander of the Indonesian special forces, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. [READ MORE]

Why Specks of Land in the South China Sea Are Fueling Tensions Between Beijing and Its Neighbors

They have names like Pigeon Reef, West Sand, Taisho - To, and Scarborough Shoal. Most are no more than outcrops of rock poking out of the sea. Most have never been inhabited. Few have any direct economic value. If not for the perceived fish and oil wealth in the waters around them, the spat over these specks in the South China Sea would read like the bizarre disputes between Lilliput and Blefuscu in Gulliver's Travels.

But for Beijing, the battle for these remote islands is part of a wider geopolitical aim: control over the entire South China Sea and its potential resource wealth. Tensions are rising. In August a Chinese Navy fighter plane... [READ MORE]

Land Reclamation: A South China Sea Game Changer

SCSC - It is widely reported that China is conducting land reclamation on six of its seven occupied features in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, transforming the submerged reefs and rocks into full - pledged islands with airstrips, harbors and other military and civilian structures. Once reclamation works are completed, Fiery Cross Reef alone will be at least two square kilometres in size – as large as all other islands in the Spratlys are combined.

Chinese officials and scholars have cited several reasons to justify Beijing’s strategic move including a need for improved search and rescue capability in the South China Sea, a desire to improve the working and living conditions of Chinese nationals working there, and a need for a base to support China’s radar and intelligence system. [READ MORE]

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