The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines on Tuesday, July 12, on the maritime dispute case against China. The three-year-old case was filed in January 2013 after a tense, yet non-violent show of force between the two countries at Scarborough Shoal. The territorial conflicts over different parts of the South China Sea currently occur not only with the Philippines, but with Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei as well.
China holds the United States liable for the stirrups that have paved the way to these events. The latter had sent in their military forces into the airspace, strengthening the statement that those were international territories. China responded with several warnings but has fortunately not escalated into violence.
In the years leading up to this decision, China had built almost 3,000 acres of artificial reefs in the disputed areas, further reinforcing their claim by harboring military ships, aircrafts, and weapons on them. They have also claimed rights to the resources in the area and have taken the liberty of harvesting fish and conducting oil exploration ventures.
The Arbitration Court also found that not only did China fail to preserve the aquatic species and marine bio-networks, but also caused damage to the delicate ecosystems surrounding their artificial lands.
In response to the ruling, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “China will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” but is willing to engage in a peaceful negotiation to resolve the dispute “on the basis of respecting historical facts.” Furthermore, in a conversation between Philippine and United States Defense Secretaries Delfin Lorenzana and Ash Carter, both countries had expressed that they would exercise restraint, as was the case with China.
This monumental victory took the internet by storm and has been branded with the hashtag #CHexit on Twitter. Now, many netizens from neighboring countries join the PH in recalling their territory the West Philippine Sea.