IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs: South China Sea Arbitration

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IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs: South China Sea Arbitration

IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the civil services (CS) preliminary examination on June 18 this year. It is one of the most esteemed and toughest exams in the country. With a success rate of 0.1- 0.3 percent of the total percentage of candidates who apply, it is really difficult to nail the examination.

As you know, On 10th May 2017, we have shared IAS Prelims 2017 Important Topics on International current affairs which will help you prepare for your upcoming examination. Here is the topic that we have discussed on yesterday, Click on the link below to explore.

IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs: Torkham Issue

Let us move forward with our next topic i.e South China Sea Arbitration.

 

IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs

Here are the list of important topics based on current affairs.

  1. Recent ISIS Attacks at Dhaka and Baghdad
  2. Torkham Issue
  3. South China Sea Arbitration
  4. ISIS attack in Kabul
  5. Turkey Coup
  6. South Sudan Conflict
  7. AIIB: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  8. International Solar Alliance
  9. Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 11)
  10. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
  11. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  12. Buddhists Attack On Muslims in Myanmar

Today we will discuss the fourth topic i.e South China Sea Arbitration. Below mentioned is the explanation of the said topic.

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South China Sea Arbitration

Philippines v. China also known as the South China Sea Arbitration, was an arbitration case brought by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) concerning certain issues in the South China Sea including the legality of China’s “nine-dotted line” claim.

  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) awarded verdict on maritime entitlements in South China Sea over the West Philippines sea dispute between China and Philippines.
  • The Tribunal decided in favour of the Philippines and said that China does not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that their “nine-dash line” claim has no legal basis.
  • The ‘Nine Dash Line’ is a wide hoop that springs from the southern tip of China’s Hainan Island and follows the coast of Vietnam all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City and beyond. It loops east not far from where the Malacca Straits feeds into the South China Sea, about level with Singapore, and tracks along Borneo and the Philippines, finally ending just south of Taiwan.

Issues regarding Nine Dash Line in South China Sea and PCA Ruling

The Tribunal found that it has jurisdiction to consider the Parties’ dispute concerning historic rights and the source of maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. On the merits, the Tribunal concluded that the Convention comprehensively allocates rights to maritime areas and that protections for pre-existing rights to resources were considered, but not adopted in the Convention. Accordingly, the Tribunal concluded that, to the extent China had historic rights to resources in the waters of the South China Sea, such rights were extinguished to the extent they were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided for in the Convention. The Tribunal also noted that, although 2 Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other States, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources. The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’There are a few hundred small islands in the SCS, a part of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the main ones are Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal — the bone of contention between China and the Philippines.

Until the late nineteenth century the South China Sea had provided a fertile fishing ground and a smooth navigation route for China and other Littoral states. This tranquillity has been disturbed by two recent developments:

a. The physical occupation of Spratly islands by some coastal states.

b. Under article 76(8) of UNCLOS (United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea) states around the world submitted their applications for extension of limits of continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to the Commission.

  • China claims sovereignty over the entire area which includes Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and several reefs, shoals etc.
  • China’s historic rights backed by imperial maps of Ming Dynasty over the resources of South China Sea were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided in the UNCLOS.

The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.

  • The Tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by (a) interfering with Philippines’ fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.
  • The Tribunal also held that fishermen from the Philippines (like those from China) had traditional fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal and that China had interfered with these rights in restricting access.

Reactions of other nations

The arbitration against China led to the mixed set of reactions from major world powers:

  • U.S.A: The arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea. The United States strongly supports the rule of law.
  • India: With the PCA negating Chinese claims over South China Sea, Indian naval warships can now move through the region under UNCLOS without informing the Chinese. India has expanded its role at the maritime high table, particularly in South East Asia. Asserting the PCA judgment is an opportunity for New Delhi to assure its friends and allies in the region that it believes in the principle of freedom of navigation to all vessels in international waters. This will enhance India’s credibility and reputation as a maritime power in the region.
  • Australia: Australia supports the right of all countries to seek to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS, adding that adherence to international law is the foundation for peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.
  • Japan: Japan also reiterated the importance of Rule of Law and supported the verdict.
  • Vietnam: Vietnam as one of the South China Sea claimant countries strongly supports the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

Over here we conclude our article on IAS Important Topics on International Current Affairs. Stay tuned with us for the rest of the topic that we will discuss day by day. 

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