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The South China Sea Case (Philippines v. China)

Convention on the Law of the Sea Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal 2016
2016 WL 5660362, E.D. Ken., September 28, 2016 (2016)


The Philippines (plaintiff) and China (defendant) are both parties to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Philippines brought an action before the convention tribunal challenging China’s activities in the South China Sea. Several claims involved whether the Spratly Islands qualified as islands with 200-mile exclusive economic zones around them. The two largest were less than two-tenths of a square mile each and occupied by Taiwanese or Philippine military installations. Historically people from surrounding nations fished, collected turtles, and mined guano on the outcroppings, but took those resources back to their homelands. Nothing resembling a stable human community evolved except the military installations, which relied heavily on outside supplies. The evidence suggested that nations had deployed military and other governmental personnel to the Spratly Islands merely to support sovereignty claims over them, not to establish self-sustaining communities. China did not appear.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mensah, J.)

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