Reject the ruling on East Sea case, China put in unfavorable position
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on July 12 ruled on the case of the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea). China’s claims to historic rights over waters within the nine-dash line are contrary to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the PCA at The Hague, the Netherlands, said.
Former head of the government’s Border Committee Dr. Tran Cong Truc talks with VietNamNet about the PCA’s ruling.
Dr. Tran Cong Truc (right) talks with VietNamNet reporter.
Q: What is the fundamental impact of the ruling on the situation in the East Sea at present and in the near future?
Tran Cong Truc: The lawsuit between the Philippines and China is about the wrong interpretation and misapplication of the UNCLOS 1982. The Philippines made 15 submissions to the PCA, with three groups of issues.
However, we understand that this ruling can only address one of the complex disputes in the East Sea. Other disputes are more complicated. But this ruling has a huge impact because it is a premise, a lesson for other countries.
In particular, the ruling refers to a content of public concern - China's nine-dash line claim which covers up to 80-90% of East Sea. This ruling rejects the legal basis of China’s claim.
This content is very significant in the context of the current dispute. I want to emphasize that it is very meaningful for the protection of the validity of international law, particularly the UNCLOS 1982.
Q: Since the Philippines lodged the case, China has always insisted that it does not recognize the PCA’s ruling. What do you think about the upcoming moves of China?
Tran Cong Truc: I think it is very normal when China made arguments to defend their views in the East Sea dispute. But the arguments of China are unsuitable with the contents that the PCA has jurisdiction over and the contentbrought by the Philippines.
China said they did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the PCA because the lawsuit was related to the issue of sovereignty over the features in the East Sea and the delimitation of overlapped waters, but actually the Philippines did not make submissions about it and the PCA did not consider that content, also.
It is more important to see what consequences will be made by the attitude of China.
I think if China continues to behave that way, it will be unfavorable for them in front of public opinion. China’s role and position in international bodies, especially in the United Nations as a superpower, a member of the UN Security Council, as a very active member of the UNCLOS, will be underestimated.
I believe that the Chinese people of goodwill and scientific view will reconsider their viewpoint to make the ruling effective.
Q: Many big countries have expressed their support for the ruling. What do you think about the attitude of the others?
Tran Cong Truc: Before the ruling was made, many countries raised their voice and made very favorable comments for the ruling of the PCA and they also called on China to seriously abide the ruling.
The G7 countries, the United States and countries in the EU, and others such as Australia, Japan, India, several countries in Asia, Southeast Asia... have expressed their attitude.
These countries have the common aspiration of protecting international law and and the Law of the Sea. Their voice is no longer showing support or lack of support to a single country.
Q: How about the impact of the ruling on Vietnam?
Tran Cong Truc: This ruling is beneficial as Vietnam can research and learn from the case to continue its legal struggle to protect the legitimate rights and interests in the East Sea.
Vietnam always wants to settle disputes by peaceful means, through negotiation. But if negotiations are ineffective, then maybe the very civilized measure is bringing the case to international tribunals.
Pham Huyen, VNN