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Philippines’ Muted Jubilation on Tribunal Ruling

On 12 July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected China’s claims of having historic title or rights over the South China Sea. The landmark case was initiated by the Philippines in 2013 when it asked the international tribunal to acknowledge its right to areas within 200 nautical miles of its coastline under the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The strong ruling in favour of the Philippines has surprised many in the legal community dealing with maritime law and disputes.

AIIA’s Rashi Yadav spoke to legal academic Lowell Bautista ab out the recent South China Sea decision and the reaction of the Philippines to the verdict. Despite the favourable ruling, Dr Bautista said the Philippines will continue to maintain good relations with China and will adopt a conciliatory approach. He spoke shortly after attending a roundtable hosted by the AIIA with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on South China Sea issues on 14 July. The dialogue focused on the key aspects of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s award and shared Australian and Chinese perspectives.


Lowell Bautista is a lecturer at the School of Law and a staff member at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong. He is a lawyer with more than ten years of experience in legal and policy research, litigation and consultancy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (cum laude) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the Philippines, a Master of Laws (Marine and Environmental Law) from Dalhousie University, Canada and a PhD in law from the University of Wollongong (UOW). His areas of research include territorial and maritime boundary issues in the Asia-Pacific, the South China Sea, Philippine maritime and territorial issues, maritime piracy and terrorism, international humanitarian law, underwater cultural heritage, and international environmental law.

Interviewed by: Rashi Yadav

Filmed and edited by: Tarisa Yasin

Published July 18, 2016