Seminar: The Implications of the Arbitral Tribunal Award in the Philippines vs. China Case on the South China Sea


About the Seminar

On 12 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will issue its final award in the Philippines vs. China case concerning maritime rights and entitlements in the South China Sea. Initiated by the Philippines in January 2013, the Tribunal was asked to rule on three main issues: first, whether China’s claim to “historic rights” within the so-called “nine-dash line” is compatible with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); second, the status and entitlement of geographic features occupied by China; and third, whether certain Chinese activities in the South China Sea violate the Philippines’ sovereign rights under UNCLOS. The Tribunal was not asked to determine issues of territorial sovereignty or maritime boundary delimitation. In February 2013, China rejected the jurisdiction of the Tribunal and adopted a policy of non-appearance and non-participation. In October 2015, however, the Tribunal ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the case and that both parties were bound by compulsory dispute settlement procedures. Since 2013, the final award has been much anticipated.

The panel of international experts on the South China Sea will discuss the background to the award, the essence of the ruling, and its implications for China’s bilateral relationships including with the Philippines and other countries.

About the Speakers
Professor Jay L Batongbacal is the Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea at the University of the Philippines. He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, and holds a Masters degree in Marine Management and a Doctorate in the Science of Law, both from Dalhousie University in Canada. His career spans across diverse fields of marine policy research, including marine territorial and jurisdictional issues, international maritime boundary negotiations, high seas fisheries, seafaring, shipping, marine environmental protection, coastal resource management, maritime security, and archipelagic studies. Professor Batongbacal has played an important role in several of the Philippines’ submissions in the international legal scene, including the Benham Rise Region case with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), and the recent landmark South China Sea case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Dr Ian Storey is a Senior Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He specializes in Asian security issues, with a focus on Southeast Asia. Ian is the editor of ISEAS’ flagship academic journal Contemporary Southeast Asia. His primary areas of research are Southeast Asia’s relations with the major powers and maritime security issues, particularly the South China Sea dispute. He is the author of Southeast Asia and the Rise of China: The Search for Security (Routledge, 2011). His latest edited book is The South China Sea Dispute: Navigating Diplomatic and Strategic Tensions (with Cheng-yi Lin) published by ISEAS in May 2016.

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 22 July 2016.


Jul 25 2016


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2