The South China Sea Arbitration: Observations on the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility
Chinese Journal of International Law 15 (2016)
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No 11/2016
93 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2016 Last revised: 4 Jul 2016
Date Written: June 30, 2016
In the South China Sea Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 29 October 2015 issued its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility. The Tribunal rejected China’s objection that the disputes presented by the Philippines concerned, in essence, the extent of China’s territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea and were thus outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Tribunal found, inter alia, that the Philippines’ submissions reflected disputes between the parties concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention, that there was no other State indispensable to the proceedings, and that the Philippines had met the requirement under Article 283 of the Convention that the parties exchange views regarding the settlement of their disputes. This paper examines the Tribunal’s findings with regard to each and every of the Philippines’ 15 final submissions and demonstrates that some of its findings on the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the Philippines’ claims are seriously flawed and based on procedural irregularities.
Keywords: law of the sea, dispute settlement, jurisdiction and admissibility, South China Sea disputes
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