The arbitration tribunal in the Philippines vs. PRC dispute over the South China Sea is likely to issue its final award later this year. The issues before the tribunal include China’s claim to historic rights, the 9-dash line, and the legal status of maritime features in the Spratlys. The U.S., the EU, and Australia other have urged China to respect the ruling, China has made clear that it does not accept the tribunal’s jurisdiction. If the tribunal rules against the Philippines on major issues, how will the U.S, EU and Australia react? What are the implications for Taiwan, as a non-party to the case, if the tribunal rules that Taiping Island (Itu Aba)—the largest landform in the Spratlys and controlled by Taiwan—is not an island that generates full maritime zones?
Yann-Huei Song is Research Fellow at the Academia Sinica in Taipei whose work focuses on law of the sea and maritime security issues in East Asia