EU: Arbitral award must be used for disputes


VARIOUS parties on Tuesday marked the seventh anniversary of the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in the case lodged by Manila against Beijing for the latter’s “excessive claims” in the South China Sea, with the European Union stressing its usefulness as basis for resolving continuing disputes involving claimants and freedom of navigation impairment.

The award “is a significant milestone, which is legally binding upon the parties to those proceedings, and a useful basis for peacefully resolving disputes between the parties,” said a statement of the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines.

In this July 7, 2015, image provided by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the case regarding the Philippines and China on the South China Sea is heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, the Netherlands. An arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, will issue a ruling Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in a long-running dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. The Philippines has asked the tribunal to declare China’s claims and actions invalid under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Beijing has refused to join the case, rejecting the tribunal’s jurisdiction, and says it will not accept the decision.(Permanent Court of Arbitration via AP)

The EU “reiterates the fundamental importance of upholding the freedoms, rights and duties established in Unclos [UN Convention on the Law of the Sea], in particular the freedoms of navigation and overflight, said the statement.

The EU also affirmed its commitment “to secure, free and open maritime supply routes in the Indo-Pacific, in full compliance with international law, as reflected in Unclos, in the interest of all.”

The Delegation of the European Union together with the Embassies of the EU Member States to the Philippines — Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Romania, Slovakia (non-resident), Finland and Sweden — issued the statement:

On July 12, 2016, the Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under Annex VII to the Unclos handed down its ruling in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China concerning the South China Sea in 2013.

In Tuesday’s statement, the EU recalled that the dispute settlement mechanisms provided under Unclos contribute to the maintenance and furthering of the international order based upon the rule of law and are essential to settle disputes.

“The EU supports the swift conclusion of talks aiming at an effective Code of Conduct between Asean and China that is fully compatible with Unclos and also respects the rights of third parties,” said the statement.

Image credits: Permanent Court of Arbitration via AP