The Enabling Role of UNCLOS III in PRC Maritime Policy

To what extent does the law of the sea influence PRC decisions about maritime policy? If there is any influence, does it on balance play a constraining or enabling role in Beijing’s decisionmaking in this domain? This brief, mostly conceptual article argues that the enabling effects are more significant. For Beijing, UNCLOS III functions to […]

Why the Philippines’ Case Should Pass the Jurisdiction and Admissibility Tests

The Philippines has been widely applauded for bringing the first ever arbitration case relating to the South China Sea disputes before an UNCLOS Arbitration Tribunal, but it still needs to clear the three hurdles of jurisdiction, admissibility and merit. In other words, Manila needs to prove that its case falls within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, that […]

The Philippines between Scylla and Charybdis at The Hague

The Annex VII arbitral tribunal heard oral arguments from the Philippines last week on the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility of claims in the case it launched against China. Despite high hopes placed on Manila’s cause, these issues remain the most formidable legal obstacles to be surmounted. While the Philippine Memorial has not been made […]

What Makes an Island? Land Reclamation and the South China Sea Arbitration

We have all heard about land reclamation by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the South China Sea, particularly the southeastern region known as the Spratly Group. But much less is being said about what the Permanent Court of Arbitration just finished considering for the past week: are artificial islands really islands? According to […]