Has China Rejected the Philippines Arbitration Already? Not yet.

Has China Rejected the Philippines Arbitration Already? Not yet.

This article from the Global Times, a hawkish state-controlled newspaper in China, probably reflects a little bit of the official Chinese view on the Philippines UNCLOS claim. It also contains this troubling bit of analysis, from a Chinese scholar:

The international court would not take the case without agreements from all parties involved, Dong Manyuan, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

Uh, yes, that’s true in a general sense.  But China has already agreed to allow an Article 287 arbitral tribunal to take this case and at least to determine jurisdiction. Article 288(4) would seem to be the last word on this point.

4. In the event of a dispute as to whether a court or tribunal has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by decision of that court or tribunal.

Sorry, Global Times! China is stuck with this case, at least as a legal matter, and at least through the jurisdictional phase. I hope the Chinese government is getting better legal advice than this. China could boycott the arbitration, but they would be in a clear violation of Article 287 and Article 288 of UNCLOS.  Will it dare to do so?

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Asia-Pacific, Courts & Tribunals, General, Law of the Sea
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Steven Groves

Julian —
My question is whether China even agrees to constitute an Annex VII tribunal in cooperation with the Philippines, because, if not, will there even be a tribunal to rule on jurisdiction? The Philippines has selected its first arbitrator, but what happens if the Chinese simply don’t select theirs? No Chinese arbitrator, no tribunal, no ruling on jurisdiction. Thoughts?