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The Hague's theatrical judgment on the South China Sea

By Chua Chin Leng ( Updated: 2016-06-29 14:40

The Hague's theatrical judgment on the South China Sea 

Leading international law experts said any verdict by the Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea will be of no legal validity, at a seminar on the South China Sea Arbitration and International Rule of Law in the Hague on June 26. [Photo by Fu Jing/] 

From the onset, the conclusion of this international farce was already a given. The Hague’s stubborn insistence to hear this case is enough to tell its motive and agenda.

An international court of jurisdiction is expected to be impartial, to uphold the law under its constitution if it wants to be respectable and seen as respectable as an international court of justice.

Without the consent of China, a party to a territorial dispute, the decision of the Court is meaningless, illegal and irrelevant. It has no legal status and is not binding.

The judicial committee has done wrong to the reputation and credibility of this Court. It undermines the reason for its existence when it crumbles to political pressure to hear a case it was not supposed to hear.

The Permanent Court went ahead despite objections by China and with China stating clearly that it would not acknowledge its arbitration and decision.

Why would this Court continue with this farce knowing that China did not give its consent to hear the case? It is political. Yes, the Court is making a political statement, not a decision based on law, in which it has no jurisdiction.

And ironically, as a key participant in this plot, the Americans are not even a signatory of UNCLOS, in other words, saying that they don’t respect the rules and regulations of UNCLOS, but are demanding China accept an illegal political opinion from the agency?

So it is only right for China to ignore it as another political statement, or even tear it to pieces like the Americans did in the past. To China and the world, the whole drama is as good as a hoax, theater engineered and promoted by its perpetrators.

The pro-Western media would have a field day trying take down China as a rogue and recalcitrant nation, not playing by the rule of law. Western leaders are expected to make their political speeches to compel China to accept a farcical judgment that they too did not believe is legal. Some ASEAN states may want to believe that the Philippines had won a legal battle in the international court when it has not.

This theater has come to an end, with an applause and encore from the conspirators but nothing more. It is rubbish, not binding and an act of desperation to make something illegal, be legal. And the American camp can beat the war drum but nothing will change the status of the islands in the South China Sea.

Independent countries in the international community must stand up to this farce. They must stop it from becoming a precedent to decide the fate of their future that may be imposed on them by the abuse of power and trust of the international court beyond its jurisdiction.

The author is a political observer from Singapore.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website.

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