Head of the ASEAN Studies Program at The Habibie Center
July marked two years since the international arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines versus China concerning their maritime jurisdiction dispute in the South China Sea. With Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also making their own claims to the disputed area, much was expected from the landmark ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 12, 2016.
Unfortunately, under the then-newly installed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Manila chose not to take advantage of its victory, instead opting to put the ruling to one side to develop closer ties with Beijing. That decision arguably undermined any efforts by ASEAN member states and regional powers to pressure China into complying with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Much has happened, however, since ...
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