Written by Peter Kreuzer.
The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the elections of Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump to President of the Philippines and the United States respectively have triggered a host of changes to the dynamics of contestation over sovereignty, sovereign and maritime rights in the South China Sea. To recap, in July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration dealt a serious blow to Chinese claims on the region, arguing that China’s nine-dash-line is not in accordance with the modern law of the sea as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The court argued that none of the South China Sea elevations qualify as islands in a legal sense and therefore none of them can generate their own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The court also ruled that a number of elevations, most prominently the Chinese-occupied Mischief Reef, were low tide elevations. This means, in short, that they must be considered a part of the Philippine EEZ. Continue reading “One award and two elections: ASEAN and the South China Sea”