China’s claims on South China Sea over Philippines rejected by court

An international tribunal in The Hague has ruled against China over claims in the South China Sea.

The dispute over the South China Sea has been years in the making. Tensions grew after China took control over Scarborough Shoal, an area claimed by both China and the Philippines, in 2012. The following year, the Philippines brought on an arbitration case against China, claiming that Beijing had violated international law in disputed waters and that the basis for Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea had no legal validity.

China claims that because its fishermen have been fishing in the waters within the “nine-dash line” for centuries, those waters, islands and resources belong to China, according to Reuters.

The tribunal concluded Tuesday that China does not have the right to resources within its line, which extends hundreds of miles to the south and east of its island province of Hainan and covers some 90 percent of the disputed waters, CNN reported. The tribunal found that the area claimed by China could not generate an exclusive economic zone, which would give them a right to fish, oil, and other resources within 200 nautical miles.

“If China’s nine-dash line is invalid as to the Philippines, it is equally invalid to those states [bordering countries] and, indeed, the rest of the international community,” Paul Reichler, of U.S. law firm Foley Hoag LLP, which represented the Philippines in the case, said in a statement.

China’s claim on the South China Sea also affects countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. China boycotted the hearings, and China’s Foreign Ministry rejected the ruling, describing it as a farce.

“China will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said.