Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

China risking pariah status: academic

By Lu Yi-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

If China fails to recognize the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in the suit filed by the Philippines over China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea as it has threatened, Beijing will suffer a loss of credibility in the international arena, Taiwan Brain Trust associate executive director Lin Ting-hui (林廷輝) said.

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, is set to deliver its ruling tomorrow morning.

The Philippines brought the case in 2013, arguing that the land formations China claims in the South China Sea are nothing more than reefs and are therefore not entitled to 200 nautical mile (370.4km) exclusive economic zones.

Even before Manila filed its suit, China said it would not recognize the tribunal’s jurisdiction and it has repeatedly said that it “does not accept, will not participate in and will not execute [the results of]” the court’s ruling.

According to the PLA Daily, China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy on Friday carried out drills and “live missiles” exercises between the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島), which Taiwan also claims, and Hainan Island.

Lin said the tribunal’s rulings represent internationally valid law and can lead to restraints being imposed on parties found in violation of laws.

“If China persists in refuting the judgment of arbitrators whose judgment is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] — a treaty that China is a party to — then China would lose credibility and be recognized internationally as a state that does not uphold laws and is not trustworthy,” he said.

There are two layers to the legal effectiveness of international arbitration, Lin said.

The first is specific laws that take effect when members sign in agreement on the clauses of a judgement or treaty — UNCLOS itself being an example.

The second is restraints on individual countries as the outcome of a judgement or treaty; this still depends on whether relevant parties sign in agreement, as signing means voluntary acceptance of the laws and restraints.

“The South China Sea arbitration hearing is formed on the basis of UNCLOS, and so naturally its judgements are legally valid. Even if China does not participate or attend, enforcement of Article 7 of UNCLOS is in accordance with law and will put restraints on China,” he said.

“However, supposing China does not accept the outcome of arbitration, there is no system in place within international law for enforcement of rulings. The Philippines may carry on with negotiations in some other way,” Lin said.

Asked what type of influence the arbitration hearing would likely have, Lin said that the Philippines would most likely feel the judgement would be a boost to Manila’s contention of the legality of Beijing’s claims, and other nations might also cite the judgement in making their own claims.

“It is like having a magical Taoist amulet in hand while challenging China on its actions,” Lin said. “China’s fighting back would only throw the situation into chaos. Also, a loss of credibility from refuting the judgement despite being a signing party to UNCLOS would impede the advancement of any future negotiations China engages in.”

The ruling will not have any great impact on Taiwan, he said.

“There will not be any restrictions placed on Taiwan, and the court has no ability to return sovereignty of disputed islands to anyone,” Lin said

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