International Law Alerts West Philippine Sea and Arbitration

MAY 2015

In the recent case of Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. v Spouses Rune and Lea Stroem (“Stronghold”),the Philippine Supreme Court held that a non-party to a construction agreement cannot invoke the arbitration clause therein

JULY 2017

Exactly a year ago, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was invoked to mediate in the brewing dispute between the Philippines and China over conflicting maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. Defying all expectations, Manila won a near unanimous victory, scoring in 14 out of its 15 claims against Beijing.

The Philippines should continue its business engagement with China but should also contest their stunts against international law, a Tokyo-based think tank said on Wednesday.

The landmark ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of the Philippines over its maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, or more specifically, the West Philippine Sea, celebrated its first anniversary.

Today marks the first anniversary of the arbitral tribunal’s award on the case that the Philippines filed against China. This anniversary presents an opportunity for us to look closely at our country’s direction. Together, we can discuss where we have come as a nation and where we are headed.


On the first anniversary of the landmark decision favoring Philippine claims in the South China Sea, the Duterte administration called itself a “regional peacemaker” and emphasized the “benefits” of improved relations with China

The Philippines can file an extended continental shelf claim beyond the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea off the coast of Luzon to enforce the ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal.

The Philippines and China and the Philippines have come back to the “right track” of resolving the South China Sea dispute a year after the arbitration award, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.


AN expert at a leading American think tank said the Philippines’s assertion of sovereignty will be impaired if it actively participates in a joint exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Territorial disputes over the resource-rich South China Sea are expected to feature prominently in engagements between China and Asean next year as Vietnam prepares to take over as chairman of the regional body.

ASEAN members remain optimistic that they can come up with a substantive and effective code of conduct on the South China Sea by 2021. Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said developing the code of conduct is vital as there is potential for mishaps and incidents to occur in the disputed waters. May Wong reports.

A US scientist on Tuesday urged the Philippine government to support the ongoing diplomatic pressure to stop the harvest of clams and unsustainable fishing in the West Philippine Sea amid damage to its ecosystem due to Chinese activity.

The Chinese defense chief warned the United States on Monday against provoking military tensions by “flexing muscles” in the contested South China Sea, while his American counterpart urged claimant nations to use their sovereign spaces “or risk losing them.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the U.S. willful trespassing is the cause of tensions in the South China Sea, and its attempt to sow discord is the threat to regional peace and stability.

The U.S. Navy twice over two days sent warships steaming into disputed areas claimed by China in the South China Sea, according to the 7th Fleet at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

The United States military intends to further increase sea and air activities over the disputed South China Sea in keeping with its resolve to keep the vital sea lane free and open to maritime and air navigation

Former Senior Associate Justice and maritime law expert Antonio Carpio on Tuesday said China has actually benefited from the 2016 international tribunal ruling even as it favored the Philippines and denigrated its massive claim in the South China Sea.

BEIJING is once again at the centre of controversy in the South China Sea as one of their aerostat radars has been spotted on a Philippine claimed island.


With repeated Chinese intrusions into oil-rich Vanguard Bank and anticipated departure of ExxonMobil from the Blue Whale project, the South China Sea dispute has reached a turning point. A planned meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Nguyễn Phú Trọng could be pivotal for a strategic partnership, but is unlikely to happen any time soon.

MALAYSIA insists it will press ahead with its claim in the disputed South China Sea despite Beijing’s anger at its decision to involve the United Nations in the row.

While the country’s neighbors have been recently pushing back against Beijing’s extensive maritime claims, the Philippines has chosen to roll out the red carpet for the Asian superpower.

Indonesia has deployed fighter jets and warships to patrol islands near the disputed South China Sea, the military said Wednesday, escalating tensions with Beijing after a diplomatic spat over “trespassing” Chinese vessels.

Vietnam is expected to ensure all Asean meetings touch on the South China Sea issue to enable the regional grouping to be better prepared in dealing with China.

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.

Parties involved in the negotiation of a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) remained optimistic about the early conclusion of the document’s crafting, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said Wednesday

The spectre of China is looming ever larger over Asia. Now international relations experts are sounding alarms at the risks of an armed clash.

MARCH 2020

China will likely continue “occupying space” in the West Philippine Sea by deploying what appear to be fishing vessels near Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr said on Tuesday, March 3.

The Philippines has quietly put forward to the United Nations an international tribunal ruling which found no basis for China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea but which the Duterte administration has set aside

The Philippines has rejected Malaysia’s petition to extend the limits of its continental shelf in the South China Sea, invoking a landmark ruling that invalidated China’s sweeping claims in the disputed waters.

China has recently deployed its research vessel with a manned submersible to the South China Sea for a marine scientific research, a move that is seen as an “assertion of its excessive rights” in the disputed waters.

SOUTH CHINA SEA tensions have spiralled out of control once more as China, Vietnam and Malaysia engage in a tense standoff over oil-rich waters.

Even as the coronavirus crisis sweeps through Asia, China continues to assert its presence in the South China Sea by deploying maritime militia around disputed islands and reefs in the Spratly island chain, according to vessel tracking data and satellite imagery reviewed by Radio Free Asia.

APRIL 2020

China’s actions in the South China Sea show what the next stage of geopolitics in Southeast Asia will look like. As China projects its power amid the pandemic, ASEAN governments will see their economies and development further defined by how they embrace or contest Beijing’s agenda.

China has deployed a Coast Guard patrol ship to the Scarborough Shoal, the latest salvo in its sustained pressure campaign against Philippine-claimed features in the disputed South China Sea, ship-tracking data shows.

The notice lists the Chinese names and coordinates of 80 islands, reefs, seamounts, shoals and ridges, 55 of them submerged in water

MAY 2020

USS Barry undertook ‘freedom of navigation operation’ in area Beijing claims as under Chinese jurisdiction.

China’s renewed assertiveness may be driven by both domestic and external factors as Beijing seeks to bolster support at home for its tough security stance, while showing rival claimants and the US that maritime and sovereignty issues will not be sidelined amid the pandemic

China’s harassment of Malaysia’s ongoing oil exploration in its coastal waters—but which Beijing deems as within the vast maritime area that it disputes in the South China Sea—has reinvented the norm and set new rules against any future development in the area by other claimant states

The long-delayed, highly anticipated code of conduct in the coveted waterway will unlikely restrain China’s assertive actions, says US-based Asia maritime expert Greg Poling