[The tribunal ruled that under the law the two reefs, which were built into islands by mammoth dredging operations, were too small for
to claim economic control of the waters
around them. It also said that Mischief Reef was in Philippine waters.] China
By Jane Perlez
Chinese police officers blocked the road leading to the Philippine Embassy
Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
BEIJING — A day after an international tribunal rejected China’s claims in the South China Sea, Beijing excoriated the panel and sent two civilian planes to artificial islands it occupies in the waterway to demonstrate control.
But the government stopped short on Wednesday of sending warships to the area, and there were signs of limits to how far it was prepared to go in whipping up anger against the
, which won almost all the arguments in the
case it brought against Philippines in China . The Hague
The lack of protests around the Philippine Embassy in
signaled that Beijing was preparing at some point to negotiate
with the new president, Rodrigo Duterte, who has been friendlier toward China than his predecessor, Benigno S. Aquino Beijing III, who initiated the case.
In repudiating China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea, thetribunal handed the government a credibility problem not only abroad but also at home — where the population has been treated to a steady diet of Chinese invincibility over the waterway.
Chinese news media were full of declarations on Wednesday that
, which had refused to participate in the
proceedings, would not abide by what it called an illegal ruling. Under the law
of the sea treaty that Beijing has ratified, the decision is legally
binding, but there is no mechanism to enforce it. China
The most damning aspect of the report was the finding that
had no historical rights over the sea. There
was no evidence, the panel concluded, that China had ever exercised exclusive control of the
One of the enduring lessons Chinese schoolchildren are taught is that the South China Sea has belonged to China since ancient times, a nostrum that President Xi Jinping repeated to state media several hours after the decision was made public.
To drive home the point, Mr. Xi’s portrait was shown in a particularly prominent position — on the front page of Wednesday’s edition of the English-language state-run newspaper, China Daily, above the paper’s name.
A map of
with the “nine-dash line” marking its
territory appeared in many state media outlets, with the caption “not one dot
less.” The line encircles about 90 percent of the China South China Sea, an area as big as . Mexico
To demonstrate that
’s occupation of two artificial islands in the
Spratly archipelago remained intact, the government sent civilian planes on
Wednesday to two reefs that were at the center of the arbitration: Subi Reef
and Mischief Reef, in the Spratly archipelago. China
The tribunal ruled that under the law the two reefs, which were built into islands by mammoth dredging operations, were too small for
to claim economic control of the waters
around them. It also said that Mischief Reef was in Philippine waters. China
In another sign intended to show the Chinese public that the government’s control of the sea remained untouched, the People’s Liberation Army newspaper announced the launch of a new advanced missile destroyer. The navy will soon receive a “massive number” of destroyers that would protect
’s maritime interests, CCTV said. China
A fierce attack on the credentials of the tribunal itself was led by the deputy foreign minister, Liu Zhenmin, who lashed out at the judges and experts who decided the case, calling them biased and anti-Asian.
“Do they know about
Asia?” he asked at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Do they know about Asia’s culture? Do they know about the South China Sea issue?”
He continued: “Do they understand the complex regional politics in
Asia? Do they realize the history of the South China Sea? How on earth could they deliver a just
The panel consisted of five legal experts on the law of the sea from
, France , Germany , the Poland and Netherlands . Ghana
One of Mr. Liu’s complaints was that four members of the panel were appointed by Judge Shunji Yanai, a former Japanese ambassador to the
, and a lawyer who was the president of the
International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in 2013 when the United States started the case. Philippines
Normally in a case that is to be heard by a five-member panel, each side chooses two members and the sea tribunal chooses one, experts on the treaty said.
South China Sea case, the appointed one judge from Philippines . Germany
In an effort to not have a disproportionate number of members appointed by its side, the
asked Mr. Yensai to appoint the remaining
four, said Markus Gehring, a law-of-the-sea expert and lecturer in law at the Philippines . University of Cambridge
Mr. Liu cast aspersions on Mr. Yanai saying he was an ally of the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, a conservative politician whom the Chinese government often criticize. “This tribunal is totally rigged by him,” Mr. Liu said.
The deputy foreign minister also attacked the tribunal over the fees for their services, which had been paid by the
. “They make money, who owns them? Who are
paying them? Philippines or another country?” Philippines
In both commercial and international arbitration cases, including law of the sea matters, it was normal practice for the two sides to pay for the fees of the arbitrators, and other expenses such as court reporters, and information technology, Mr. Gehring said.
“The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s bills to the parties had to be paid,” said Paul S. Reichler, the chief counsel for the
. “Because Philippines ignored them, the China had no choice but to pay Philippines ’s share as well. That is what happens when
one of the parties refuses to pay its share, and the other party wants the
arbitration to proceed.” China
He called the five jurists among the “most honorable and distinguished” in the world.
“The suggestion that these five arbitrators ruled in the Philippines’ favor because they knew that the Philippines paid the costs — to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, not to them personally — is vicious and mendacious.”
Yufan Huang contributed research