The South China Sea Arbitral Award: Evolving Post-Arbitration Strategies, Implications and Challenges
On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal formed under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) issued its award on the case brought by the Philippines against China over maritime claims in the South China Sea. The landmark victory categorically declared that China's nine-dash line claim is incompatible with the UNCLOS. The award was also an authoritative interpretation of various important issues relating to UNCLOS including the legal status of maritime features, historic rights, and the duty to preserve the marine environment. However, despite the final and binding nature of the arbitral ruling, China continues to reject the ruling. The shift in Philippine foreign policy under the Duterte administration has led to setting aside the ruling in order to restore amicable diplomatic and economic relations with China. This Special Issue of Asian Politics & Policy explores and revisits the South China Sea arbitral award from a multi-faceted perspective, focusing on challenges, implications, and post-arbitration strategies.