The recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines’ s lawsuit against China concerning disputes in the East Sea is of historical significance, a Japanese expert has said.
Prof. Kurihara Hirohide.
Prof. Kurihara Hirohide, an expert in Vietnam-China relations at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies’ Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, said the ruling was made on the basis of international law and thorough research studies of the East Sea’s history and status quo.
The professor stressed that China’s claims to the majority of the sea is unacceptable.
China defines “relevant and irrelevant parties” to prevent countries “outside the region” like the US and Japan, as described by Beijing, from interfering in the East Sea issue, he said.
He added that the East Sea is an important international sea route so it is appropriate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to raise the East Sea issue at the recent Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Mongolia.
Mentioning the court’s conclusion that no features claimed by China in the East Sea can create an exclusive economic zone, the expert described China’s construction of man-made islands in sea as a vain attempt.
He explained that all islands built by the country will not be recognised nor change the status quo in the East Sea as stated in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
China’s land reclamation in the East Sea has betrayed its statement that Chinese activities in the waters date back 2,000 years ago. On the contrary, the act has proven that such activities began just several decades ago, as China attempts to impose its claims in the waters, he said.
The professor stressed that China’s refutation of the PCA’s ruling reflects the country’s disobedience of international law, warning that Beijing may loose its prestige in the world arena due to this attitude.
On July 12, the PCA issued the ruling on the case brought by the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line claim in the East Sea, saying China’s claims to historic rights for waters within the nine-dash line are contrary to the 1982 UNCLOS.
The Hague Tribunal also finds no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line.
The country has no historic title over waters of the East Sea. At the same time, China has caused permanent and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem at Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, the court said.