Will South China Sea dispute arbitration bring peace to the region?

A man rides a motorcycle past a poster promoting Vietnam' sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) on Phu Quoc island

A man rides a motorcycle past a poster promoting Vietnam’ sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea) on Phu Quoc island

To this question the Philippines gives a positive answer. In its report today Reuters quotes the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry as saying, “The Vietnamese position is helpful in terms of promoting the rule of law and in finding peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the South China Sea claims based on international law.”

I wonder, since China refuses to take part in the arbitration and clearly declared its position not to accept the arbitration award, what can the Philippines do to enforce the award without resorting to force? Can Vietnamese support enable the Philippines to enforce the award peacefully?

Therefore, I said in my post “China Publishes Position Paper against South Sea Dispute Arbitration” on December 8, the arbitration award in favour of the Philippines “will intensify the tension between China and the Philippines.” The tension will only aggravate if Vietnam supports the Philippines in enforcing the award.

The Philippines is certainly happy that it has the support from Vietnam, but that has nothing to do with peace

However, the Diplomat’s article by Prashanth Parameswaran on December 12 says, “By lodging a statement with the court – as opposed to directly joining the Philippines in its case – Vietnam has found a way to make its views heard but not alienate Beijing, which has warned Hanoi against joining Manila’s legal challenge.”

If that is the case, there is some problem in the title of Reuters report “Vietnam’s sea dispute arbitration case vs China promotes peace: Manila”. Since Vietnam only submit a statement of its position to the arbitration court but does not join the Philippines in the case, there is no “Vietnam’s sea dispute arbitration case vs China.”

This shows that Vietnamese support for the Philippines will not be substantial as Vietnam wants to maintain good relations with China to keep the economic benefits it gets from the relations.

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

Vietnam’s sea dispute arbitration case vs China promotes peace: Manila

Vietnam has helped ensure peace in the South China Sea dispute with Beijing by following the Philippines in seeking U.N. arbitration, Manila said, despite the fact that Beijing has refused to take part.

Beijing claims almost the entire energy-rich South China Sea but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims. Only Brunei has not occupied and garrisoned territory in the potential flashpoint in the region.

Vietnam on Thursday submitted its position to a UN arbitration tribunal initiated by the Philippines over the festering dispute. China called on Vietnam to respect its sovereignty and has refused UN arbitration.

“The Vietnamese position is helpful in terms of promoting the rule of law and in finding peaceful and nonviolent solutions to the South China Sea claims based on international law,” the Philippine Foreign Ministry said.

“…This promotes peace and stability in our region.”

China, Vietnam and the Philippines are signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international agreement that grants the right to explore and exploit resources within 200 nautical miles of a state’s shore. Both Hanoi and Manila say Beijing is extending beyond the limit.

In May, China placed its largest mobile oil rig close to Vietnam’s coast in the Paracel islands that prompted angry protests in Hanoi against Chinese business interests. At the same time, Beijing began reclamation in the Spratly islands and appeared to be building airstrips in the area.

Beijing has also seized control of Scarborough Shoal near the Philippines’ main island of Luzon and chased civilian ships delivering supplies to Philippine-held Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys.

The Philippines and Vietnam appear to be ending decades of distrust. Last year, the two sides held a first-ever navy-to-navy talks and last month, Hanoi displayed its two most powerful missile-guided stealth frigates in Manila during a port call. The two states will hold the first strategic defence dialogue early next year.

“Vietnam’s legal opinion puts political weight on the Philippine legal case,” Professor Rommel Banlaoi, a security analyst, said on television.

“What Vietnam did was in fact supporting, reaffirming and even rallying behind the Philippine legal action and that’s good for our national interest.”

Source: Reuters “Vietnam’s sea dispute arbitration case vs China promotes peace: Manila”

Source: The Diplomat “Vietnam Launches Legal Challenge Against China’s South China Sea Claims”

Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:

  • No War Due to South China Sea Disputes dated December 10, 2014
  • China Publishes Position Paper against South Sea Dispute Arbitration dated December 8, 2014
  • South China Sea Disputes: Chinese Strategy dated July 10, 2013
  • South China Sea Dispute: Encirclement of China dated July 6, 2013
  • South China Sea Dispute: Who Is Bullying Who? dated June 26, 2013
  • South China Sea Dispute: Chinese People’s Obsession dated June 24, 2013
  • South China Sea Dispute: Lucky China, Unlucky Philippines dated June 21, 2013


Categories: Politics & Law

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11 replies

  1. Chinese leaders and Chinese citizens who entered school after 1947, the year the 9-dashed line map
    was drawn, have been taught that China has historical rights to the South China Sea. This is of course false and
    merely constitutes state propaganda, but unfortunately the Chinese people now believe in this propaganda as
    “historical facts.”
    There are, of course, Chinese scholars who realize that China’s 9-dashed line claim cannot stand impartial
    scrutiny based on actual historical facts. Professor Jin Canrong of Renmin University in Beijing, who attended
    the Shangri-La Regional Security Forum in Singapore, said that China should be given more time to clarify its
    9-dashed line claim because if it clarifies its claim now, it will face domestic political pressure. Prof. Jin said, “Give
    China some time, it will change its stance in the future.”

    Like

  2. Will it bring peace? No one knows. Much depends on the outcome of the arbitration. If the Tribunal accepts jurisdiction and invalidates China’s infamous Nine-(or is it now ten?) dash line claim, then despite Its posturing, China will either have to become more conciliatory, or more confrontational. China will be under considerable international pressure to conform to the ruling of the Tribunal, even though China has rejected the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. China’s self-described “peaceful rise” will be put to the test. If, on the other hand, the Tribunal
    either does not accept jurisdiction, or refuses to invalidate the Nine-dash line claim, then a chaotic free-for-all will ensue in the South China Sea. There may well be skirmishes and military clashes over territory.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. China is pushing South China Sea situation to the brink of miscalculation | China Daily Mail
  2. Philippines says Chinese ship rammed fishing boats in Scarborough Shoal | China Daily Mail
  3. Cadence of Conflict: Asia, June 29, 2015 | China Daily Mail
  4. A worried China tries to urge Philippines to ditch its South China Sea case | China Daily Mail
  5. Philippines moves fighter jets into South China Sea | China Daily Mail
  6. China is conducting air-sea patrols for Chinese oil rigs in waters disputed with Vietnam | China Daily Mail
  7. Indonesia says could take China to court over South China Sea | China Daily Mail
  8. US says China will be bound by maritime arbitration ruling in South China Sea | China Daily Mail
  9. The U.S. just sent a carrier strike group to confront China in the South China Sea | China Daily Mail

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