New Zealand has called on all parties to respect an international ruling on South China Sea, a stance that will test relations with our biggest trading partner, China.
China has violated The Philippines’ sovereign rights in the South China Sea by building artificial islands and by interfering with the smaller nation’s fishing and petroleum exploration, The Permanent Court of Arbitration has found in a landmark ruling.
The court in The Hague has effectively thrown out China’s “nine dash line” which asserts the country’s claim to most of the South China Sea. The court found that such historical claims – in China’s case going back hundreds of years – are superseded by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China has made it clear it will not accept or recognise any ruling rejecting its claims to the hotly contested waterway.
The Philippines took China to the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013 after the Chinese navy seized control of Scarborough Shoal. The tribunal has ruled that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the nine dash line, according to reports.
“While New Zealand does not take a position on the various territorial claims in the South China Sea we have consistently stated that the differing interests in the region should be managed peacefully and in accordance with international law,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.
“Maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea is vital to the ongoing prosperity of the wider Asia-Pacific region. It is in all parties’ interests to ensure the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is respected.
China is acting like an aggressor and a bully. If they are unwilling to accept international law, then how can one trust them in other international agreements?