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The South China Sea Arbitration: the Republic of Philippines vs. the People's Republic of China

Vietnam Hopes for Fair Decision from Court Handling South China Sea Case

Vietnam has called for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to issue a “fair and objective” ruling in an arbitration case lodged by the Philippines that challenges China’s claims in the South China Sea.

“Vietnam has always been observing the development of the case and wants the arbitration court to deliver a fair and objective decision, creating a basis to peacefully resolve disputes in the (South China Sea),” Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, said in a statement late on Friday in response to queries from reporters about the PCA’s final decision expected on July 12.

The statement stopped short of calling for the ruling to be respected, according to Reuters.

A report from Vietnam News Agency, however, added that the diplomat reiterated the Vietnam’s consistent position of supporting the settlement of disputes in the South China Sea by peaceful measures, on the basis of international law, and its support for the adherence to and full execution of all regulations and procedures of the 1982 UNCLOS.

A month earlier, it was widely reported on Vietnam’s state media that Binh called on the involved parties “to respect international legal obligations as stipulated in the Convention,” in response to a question on how far Vietnam is prepared for the possibility that China will reject PCA’s upcoming ruling.

At the ninth meeting of the steering committee for bilateral cooperation in Hanoi on 27 June, Vietnam and China agreed that they should persistently use discussions and negotiations to seek basic and long-term solutions acceptable to both sides.

China’s position is that the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no jurisdiction over the case brought by Philippines and it will not accept the ruling by the arbitration court. “On the issue of territory and disputes over maritime delineation, China does not accept any dispute resolution from a third party and does not accept any dispute resolution forced on China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement.

There have been numerous calls by Vietnamese people that their government should make clearer its position on South China disputes and be ready to solve the disputes at an international court.

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