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2016: A UN-appointed tribunal dismisses China’s claims in the South China Sea | The Economist

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The judgement by the Permanent Court of Arbitration had long been expected to contradict China’s assertions and uphold the complaints raised by the Philippines when it lodged the case (with strong American backing) in January 2013. Apparently with this in mind, China had stepped up its building of artificial islands, hoping that by establishing firmer footholds on them it would be impossible for any claimant to push it back without risking confrontation. The construction of what an American admiral called a “great wall of sand” has angered other contestants for rights in the sea, especially the Philippines and Vietnam (Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan are also in the fray). The court’s ruling will further convince China that it was right to move quickly.

There was a further blow to China’s pride: the court ruled that China’s island-building efforts in the Spratlys had caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment”. It said the Chinese authorities “had not fulfilled their obligations” to stop Chinese fishermen from harvesting endangered species there, including sea turtles, coral and giant clams “on a substantial scale”.

Wow this is a huge dispute!

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