Philippines v. China Aftermath

45 Syracuse J. Int'l. L. & Com. 147, 2018

71 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2020

See all articles by Joseph M. Isanga

Joseph M. Isanga

Concordia University School of Law

Date Written: 2018


PHILIPPINES v. CHINA AFTERMATH seeks to address a paucity of scholarly literature in the aftermath of the arbitral decision. The response of parties to the decision poses a direct challenge to the rule of law and the notion — long held since the end of the Second World War — that international peace can best be preserved through adherence to international law and adjudicatory processes. South China Sea developments have attracted significant U.S. interest and involvement, as well as those of other major powers, including Russia. Philippines v. China presents a good opportunity to review certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). To these ends, this Article argues that one of the ways to end the impasse in the South China Sea is to salvage respect for the international law of the sea by amending UNCLOS, particularly its provisions on composition of the arbitral tribunal, non-participation of one of the parties, exclusive economic zone, islands and rocks. The Article first presents a critique of Philippines v. China, and then analyzes relevant provisions of UNCLOS in Part II. It analyzes the implications of China’s response for international rule of law in Part III. In Part IV, the Article discusses the response of the United States. Part V follows with a discussion of the complementary duo-approach of negotiated settlement and adjudication. Finally, the Article concludes with recommendations for improvements to UNCLOS and the adjudicatory process that should deal with the flaws exposed by Philippines v. China.

Keywords: Philippines, China, Arbitration, Rule of Law, Use of Force, Law of the Sea, International law

Suggested Citation

Isanga, Joseph, Philippines v. China Aftermath (2018). 45 Syracuse J. Int'l. L. & Com. 147, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Isanga (Contact Author)

Concordia University School of Law ( email )

501 W. Front St
Boise, ID 83702
United States
208-639-5411 (Phone)

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