Hague to rule on South China Sea soon

  • 30/06/2016
A Philippine Navy warship docked in Manila (AAP)
A Philippine Navy warship docked in Manila (AAP)

An arbitration court hearing the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea will deliver its decision on July 12, it says.

The Philippines has asked the Netherlands-based court to rule in the case, which pits China against several South Asian countries with overlapping claims.

The dispute has escalated tension in the region and sparked concerns of a military confrontation.

China has not taken part in the proceedings and rejects the court's jurisdiction in the matter.

China's Foreign Ministry said this week an arbitration court hearing the dispute has no jurisdiction and that Manila's unilateral lodging of the case is against international law.

The ministry, in a lengthy statement, added that China would not accept any forced dispute resolution.

The South China Sea, spanning almost 3.5 million square km, with abundant natural resources and a key shipping lane for international trade, borders on China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia.

Manila is contesting China's historical claim to about 90 percent of the maritime territory, with its so-called "Nine Dash line" stretching deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia, covering hundreds of disputed islands and reefs, rich fishing grounds and oil and gas deposits.

The Philippines argues that China's claim violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and has restricted its rights to exploit resources and fishing areas within its exclusive economic zone.