The Philippines had a major, if unenforceable, win against China in the 12 July South China Sea Arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. But the implications go beyond the bilateral dispute between China and the Philippines and it carries great legal weight as an authoritative ruling by an international judicial body.
Bearing in mind that the award is legally binding only on the parties to the arbitration, there’s the question of what might this assertion mean for third countries who may opt to exercise navigational rights based on the Tribunal’s rulings on the status and maritime entitlements of features in the Spratlys.
The South China Sea award has produced a diverse range of opinions on ASPI’s blog The Strategist. This Strategic Insights assembles a selection of those articles.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute Limited 2016