ASIA TIMES — When the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague announced its findings on the dispute in South China Sea in favor of the Philippines over China, the most jubilant party was the United States.
State Department spokesperson immediately announced that the ruling is legal and binding on all parties henceforth and forever more. Strange because when a PCA ruling did not suit Washington in the past, it was simply ignored.
China’s immediate response was rejection of the ruling as illegal and furthermore meaningless. Meaningless, because in any arbitration, both parties must agree to submit to arbitration, and China did not agree to participate.
Illegal, because both countries are signatories of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and as signatories, the legally binding agreement is that the parties would negotiate on any matters of dispute.
The US has never ratified UNCLOS, so they were uninvited gatecrashers to the dispute.
This does not mean Uncle Sam does not have any skin in the game. The US has been deliberately raising the tension in South China Sea and putting former Philippine president Aquino up to unilaterally submitting the issue to PCA for arbitration.
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