The recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines lawsuit against China’s claims in the East Sea (South China Sea) is significant as it clarifies the claims of the parties involved, thus pushing them towards a settlement of disputes in the long run.

The remarks were made by Le Hong Hiep, an expert from the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies.

He said the ruling has helped considerably narrow the scale of disputes in the East Sea, especially those related to China’s claims of its “nine-dash line” and features in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around the Mischief Reef in the Spratly (Truong Sa) Islands in the East Sea. Photo: Reuters

The PCA ruled that China’s claims over historical rights within the “nine-dash line” run counter the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), so it has no legal value.

The tribunal also verified that no features in the Spratly archipelago could be considered an island and so are not entitled to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone under UNCLOS, he added.

Regarding this issue, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh on July 12 confirmed that Vietnam welcomes the PCA’s issuance of the final ruling on July 12 and the country will issue a statement on the ruling’s content.

“Vietnam once again reiterates its consistent stance on this lawsuit as it was fully shown in the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Declaration on December 5, 2014 sent to the arbitration tribunal,” he noted.

“In that spirit, Vietnam strongly supports settling disputes in the East Sea through peaceful measures, including diplomatic and legal processes without the use or threat to use force, as in line with regulations of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, maintaining peace and stability in the region, security, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight over the East Sea, and respecting the law-abiding principle in seas and oceans,” Binh said.

“On this occasion, Vietnam once again affirms its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes, the sovereignty over internal waters and territorial waters, the sovereign right and jurisdiction over Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined in line with the 1982 UNCLOS. ”

Vietnam upholds all of its legitimate rights and interests regarding the geographical structures belonging to the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, he added.

Source: VNA