Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Michael Davis on Damage Control After the South China Sea Arbitration Award

"Why Beijing should seek damage control following the South China Sea decision"
Michael Davis
South China Morning Post
19 July 2016
It is time to get realistic over the South China Sea arbitral decision. Chinese officials and their supporters have made this case out to be some gross overreaching by the arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
     A better view is that the tribunal properly exposed some serious violations that China ought to correct both for its own reputation and for the sake of the natural environment. At the same time, it offered a platform for negotiating a reasonable settlement. The following 10 points are worth considering.
      First, we should appreciate that China signed on to the UN convention for good reason. Not traditionally a maritime power, the treaty offered China expanded rights in adjoining territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf, which would be rich in fisheries and minerals. Substantially hemmed in by its neighbours, China surely saw great advantage in embracing such treaty.
     Second, by agreeing to the treaty, China agreed to the associated arbitration that has just taken place. If China refused to appear, the tribunal was required to proceed without it and was bound to consider as best it could what it judged to be China’s arguments.
      Third, by refusing to appear, China waived its right to participate in selecting the five judges for the arbitration... Click here to read the full article.

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