The days of nations jockeying for position in the resource-rich waters of the South China Sea aren’t even close to being over, despite last month’s historic legal decision rejecting China’s claim to the majority of the region.
On Tuesday, China’s top court said there was a “clear legal basis for China to safeguard maritime order, marine safety and interests, and to exercise integrated management over the country’s jurisdictional seas.”
The regulation states that those who engage in illegal hunting or fishing in China’s waters will be pursued for criminal liability.
“This is kind of an ominous suggestion that they will be prosecuting people who enter the waters that China claims,” Michael Davis, a law professor at Hong Kong University told CNN.
“The Chinese court’s ruling is China’s way of saying that it has the right to continue to do what it wants in the South China Sea, despite the verdict from the international court in favor of the Philippines,” Robert Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and author of “Asia’s Cauldron,” told Business Insider.
On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a 500-page unanimous ruling in Republic of Philippines v. People’s Republic of China, a case brought by the Philippines in 2013.
The court found that Beijing had violated the Philippines’ economic and sovereign rights and concluded there was no legal basis for China’s nine-dash line, which encompasses approximately 85% of the South China Sea.
And while the ruling is only binding between Beijing and Manila, it does, however, set a legal foundation by determining that the rules of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNLCLOS) take precedence over China’s historic claims.