The Philippines has won its arbitration case at the International Court over resource rights in the South China Sea.
The United Nations Hague Tribunal issued its decision Tuesday after several months of hearings and lengthy submission of documentation.
China was absent during the proceedings, saying it would “refuse to recognize any negative outcome in the case”.
A statement released to the media by The Hague said: “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 statement went on to say: “Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could – without delimiting a boundary – declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”
The findings also noted that China had violated the sovereign right of the Philippines: “Having found that certain areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, the Tribunal found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right in its exclusive economic zone by (a) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.”
The statement went on to say “The Tribunal further held that Chinese law enforcement vessels had unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels.”
China has asserted that is has ‘historic rights’ to the region, claiming the gas and oil rights to the region as their own. Under the ‘nine-dash line’ China attempted to claim nearly the entire area of the South China Sea and even a section of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
Philippines authorities filed the case before The Hague Tribunal in January of 2013 after a tense standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships at Scarborough shoal in April of 2012.
Since the case was filed, China has reclamated several islands, creating runways, lighthouses and other military complex structures.