PEKING AND THE SOUTH CHINA SEA RULING: A COMMENT
"A UN tribunal has ruled unanimously in favour of the Philippines in its case against China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines first brought the case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea at The Hague in 2013, raising 15 instances in which it held China’s claims and activity in the South China Sea had violated international law, writes Hudson Lockett. In 2015 the tribunal decided it had jurisdiction on seven of those, though it said it was still considering the other eight. The tribunal’s decision applies not to sovereignty claims, but the maritime rights attached to such claims. Among the issues raised by the Philippines was the validity of China’s “Nine-dash line” asserting sovereignty over as much as 90 per cent of the region’s waters".The Financial Times. "World News: UN tribunal rules for Philippines in South China Sea dispute". 12 July 2016 in www.ft.com.
"China reiterated it would ignore an unfavourable court ruling on its maritime claims in the South China Sea, and warned its neighbours it would “take all necessary measures” to protect Chinese interests there. In a day of sabre-rattling and veiled threats, vice-foreign minister Liu Zhenmin on Wednesday said China had the right to create an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea, effectively claiming the airspace over the region. China’s claims to 85 per cent of the territory of the South China Sea were badly dented by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which on Tuesday ruled in favour of the Philippines in a case brought three years ago. The court said there was no legal basis for Beijing’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea. Beijing sees control of the South China Sea as a vital national interest, and has embarked on an ambitious policy of dredging islands from coral reefs and rocks in support of its claims."Charles Clover & Wan Li, "Beijing warns neighbors after South China Sea ruling". The Financial Times. 13 July 2016 in www.ft.com. The ruling against China by the United Nation's tribunal and Peking's automatic denunciation of said ruling with its declaration that it will refuse to abide by it are all of a piece. It shows clearly and without diplomatic niceties that the ruling clique in the Peoples Republic understand only the logic of force. Legal rulings unbacked by the employment of force or the threat of force are something that it deliberately chooses to ignore. It is this once again verified factum, which shows how important it is for the Americans, the West and its local allies (South Korea, the Philippines, and even Vietnam) to present a united, diplomatic front vis`-a-vis the Peoples Republic. It is only via a consist pursuit of a Kennanesque containment policy that those many elements in the Chinese leadership who believe that the 'correlation of forces' both now and in the future favors Peking will be forced to moderate its policies in its 'near-abroad'. As was recently and wisely noted in a piece in the current issue of the Royal Institute of International Relations, flagship periodical ('International Affairs'), only by incorporating the views of its neighbors, and ceasing to base its foreign policy on the logic of force can China and its role in International Affairs acquire some degree of legitimacy and acceptance from its neighbors:
"The World is not just of China's own making-neither is China's place in it. For Chinese-generated conceptions of world order and Great Power relations to translate into real power politics in the ways envisages by Chinese thinkers, others will have to be persuaded to accept and buy into them. This might prove to be a rather difficult task. The second is that it is important for these debates to remain connected to reality. By this we mean that what is said and argued within China about its nature as a Great Power will be viewed by others alongside the track record of how key Chinese actors utilize Chinese power in international politics. In particular, the way this power is articulated in the country's regional relations might make the already difficult task of persuading others to accept Chinese views of China as a Great Power even more problematic" 1.1. Shaun Breslin & Jinghan Zeng, "A G2 with Chinese characteristics?" International Affairs. (July 2016), p. 794.