China / Society

Chinese Society of International Law releases paper on South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-10 18:41

BEIJING - The Chinese Society of International Law (CSIL) on Friday releases a paper under the title the Tribunal's Award in the "South China Sea Arbitration" Initiated by the Philippines is Null and Void, supporting the Chinese Government's position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

From a legal point of view, the CSIL criticizes on errors the Arbitral Tribunal makes in its award on jurisdiction, and demonstrates that both this award and the pending award on merits are null and void.

The Paper points out that the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility in the South China Sea Arbitration, issued by the Arbitral Tribunal on 29 October 2015, is full of errors in both the determination of fact and the application of Law. In the Award, there exist at least six main errors as follows:

First, the Tribunal errs in finding that the claims made by the Philippines constitute disputes between China and the Philippines concerning the interpretation or application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);

Second, the Tribunal errs in taking jurisdiction over claims which in essence are issues of sovereignty over land territory and are beyond the purview of the UNCLOS;

Third, the Tribunal errs in taking jurisdiction over claims concerning maritime delimitation which have been excluded by China from compulsory procedures in line with the UNCLOS;

Fourth, the Tribunal errs in denying that there exists between China and the Philippines an agreement to settle the disputes in question through negotiation;

Fifth, the Tribunal errs in finding that the Philippines had fulfilled the obligation to "exchange views" regarding the means of dispute settlement with respect to the claims it made;

Sixth, the Tribunal's Award deviates from the object and purpose of the dispute settlement mechanism under the UNCLOS, and impairs the integrity and authority of the UNCLOS.

The Paper stresses that the Tribunal's Award on Jurisdiction, by contravening the principle of prudence, is groundless in fact or law and obviously unjust. Such a political decision shall have no legal effect.

Finally, the Tribunal's establishment of jurisdiction over the Philippines' claims is completely erroneous. Therefore, any decision that the Tribunal may make on the substantive issues will equally have no legal effect.

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