The South China Sea Arbitral Award amidst Shifting Philippine Foreign Policy
The South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal award was an overwhelming legal and moral victory for the Philippines. The arbitral tribunal categorically declared that China's nine-dash line claim is incompatible with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, China's defiance of the ruling and refusal to honor and implement the award pose a serious challenge to Manila's victory. In addition, the astonishing shift in Philippine foreign policy direction, alongside the change in government, flouts the arbitral award and undermines previous State policies assertive of Philippine maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea. The current direction of Philippine-China relations under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstrated positive signs of improvement compared with acrimonious bilateral relations pursued by the previous Aquino administration. The arbitral award has largely been set aside in the government's effort to restore amicable economic and diplomatic relations with China. This paper examines the South China Sea arbitral award amidst shifting Philippine foreign policy under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.