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Court rules China has "no historic rights" in South China Sea; Philippines welcomes, Beijing remains defiant

The Philippines had challenged Beijing`s right to exploit resources across the South China Sea.


Court rules China has "no historic rights" in South China Sea; Philippines welcomes, Beijing remains defiant

Amsterdam: In a jolt to China, an arbitration court in The Hague on Tuesday ruled that Beijing has "no historic rights" in the South China Sea.

The Philippines had challenged Beijing`s right to exploit resources across the South China Sea.

Responding to the ruling, the Philippines` foreign minister called for "restraint and sobriety" in the South China Sea.

China, however, said that it "does not accept and does not recognise" the ruling by the UN-backed tribunal, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The comments, in a brief dispatch that did not identify a source, follow a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that China has no historic rights to its claimed "nine-dash line".

The ruling risks stoking further tensions in Southeast Asia.

Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague today rejected China`s claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea.

 

"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the `nine-dash line`," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.

In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work.

"China had violated the Philippines` sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, by constructing artificial islands and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone," the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay told a news conference: "Our experts are studying this award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves."

"We call on all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety. The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision."

China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it will not be bound by any ruling.

China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about USD 5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The United States and China often conduct military exercises in the area and regularly accuse each other of militarising the region.

From Zee News

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