China Refusing to Participate in Arbitration with Philippines
China continues its refusal to participate in arbitration to resolve a long-standing feud between Beijing and Manila over the South China Sea. The arbitration will be held at an international tribunal with a panel of five members in The Hague. The tribunal will be held to address China’s contention that the arbitration body has no authority or jurisdiction over the complaint against Beijing. China has offered to participate in one-on-one negotiations with the Philippines in order to resolve the conflict.
Representatives from the Philippines are attending the tribunal, including high-level delegates and the Philippines solicitor general. Several Washington-based attorneys hired by Manila will also be in attendance at The Hague. If it is decided that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, the complaint against China would be dropped.
Representatives from the Philippines have stated that the country will accept any ruling, regardless of whether or not it is favorable. They are calling on China to do the same and stated publicly that they hope the country will honor any ruling to show it is a global leader and is capable of and willing to adhere to laws.
Their desire is likely to fall on deaf ears, as China has renewed its offer for one-on-one negotiations, stating it would not accept nor participate in arbitration. Representatives further stated China would not start a war with the Philippines over the territory, but that the door for one-on-one negotiation would remain open forever.
The dispute over the territory began in 2013 after China moved coast guard ships into control in the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff. The ships continue to force away Filipino and other fisherman, utilizing water cannons to do so. Filipino representatives are asking that the arbitrators make China’s claim over the area invalid under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.