UN Convention on Law of the Seas Current Affairs - 2019
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China has rejected UN arbitration to resolve the South China Sea (SCS) maritime dispute with its Philippines. China instead has asserted that this maritime dispute should be settled through direct bilateral negotiations.
China’s rejection comes before the deadline to respond to UN mediation sought by the Philippines to arbitrate its maritime dispute with China over the South China Sea.
China has alleged that Philippines is attempting to resolve the dispute through “compulsory arbitration” by the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), without exercising the option to settle it through direct talks.
China’s approach to UN’s mediation of border disputes
- China has claimed that they have settled its land boundary disputes with almost all of its neighbours (except India and Bhutan) and has delimited its maritime boundary in Beibu Bay with Vietnam.
- In this case, China has mentioned that they are defending their sovereign right to choose a means of dispute settlement of its free will.
- China has even alleged that the Philippines is misusing “compulsory arbitration” to resolve this dispute.
In 2013, Philippines had approached the UN, questioning China’s claims to the Spratly islands (called Nansha islands by China) and the waters around them. UN Arbitral Tribunal appointed to deal with the case had asked China to submit its counter-memorial before 15th December 2014.