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The arbitral tribunal convened under Part XV of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention has found that China’s claimed historic rights in the South China Sea, enshrined in its nine-dash line map, were extinguished when it signed the convention.
China has stated clearly that it will ignore the judgment. On social media, state “news” agency Xinhua said it was “NULL, VOID”, and had “NO BINDING FORCE” (caps theirs). Twitter tantrums aside, major powers behaving badly toward global governance is hardly unprecedented. The United States is, as former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans recently admitted.
The United States’ contribution to the betterment of humanity is staggering. In the early part of the 20th century it profoundly changed norms of conduct between states, principally by challenging the notion that morality applied only to conduct within states, not conduct between states. There had been glimmerings of this thinking beforehand, but it was Woodrow Wilson who stamped the ideas of collective security into the thinking of Western powers.
Read South China Sea ruling a test for our patchwork global order by Greg Raymond, published in The Canberra Times.