The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s Exegesis of the Regime of Islands and China’s Nine-Dash-Line Claims in the South China Sea Arbitration

Theodore Okonkwo


The big South China Sea is one of the most dangerous hotspot in the world. By words and actions, there are six
claimants of the South China Sea. The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines are some of
them. Each want to control the numerous features and resources in boosting their economic interests. The United
Nations was actively involved in the settlement of the disputes for their own security and economic interests. The
great ownership question that comes about in this is the rightful owner of the South China Sea which involved the
Nine-Dash Line claims by the government of the People’s Republic of China, which laid claims to the Paracel
Islands, the Spratly Islands, the Pratas Islands, the Maccles field Bank and the Scarborough Shoal. In the Arbitration
between the two parties: China and Philippines, Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
was relied upon by the tribunal which gave award on 29th October, 2015 on admissibility and jurisdiction. However
the objection that was presented by China was rejected by the tribunal. This was because of the issue of the territorial
sovereignty of China in the South China Sea which was not within the jurisdiction of the tribunal. The tribunal found
interalia that the submission made by Philippines showed the dispute between the parties putting in mind the
Convention interpretation and application. The requirements under article 283 of the Convention were met by the
Philippines in regards to the settlement of the dispute. This paper examines the South China Sea arbitration award
and the interpretation and the application of the regime of islands under article 121 of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea.

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