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Vancouver Reacts to South China Sea Ruling

Earlier this month, a tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands ruled in favor of the Philippines that there was no evidence that China had historically claimed island control in the South China Sea.

Although Canada has no direct interest in the territorial dispute, it might be best for B.C. business interests to keep a close eye out, since the South China Sea is considered one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.

Members of the Chinese and Filipino communities in the Lower Mainland region reacted a day after The Hague announced the ruling. While the Filipino community was thrilled about the results, the Chinese community in Vancouver had mixed reactions. Supporters of Beijing’s claims felt the results were unfair for a negotiation that took place without China, one of the key parties involved.

“If you look at the concept of an arbitration, it’s to not have an arbitration unless both parties agree to one. The Philippines went to arbitration unilaterally, and the process of resolving disputes under the United Nations treaty was completely ignored. This arbitration was nonsense … the whole process was wrong,” said David Choi, national chairman of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians.

Diplomatic responses between the two countries were also different. While the Philippines consulate in Vancouver didn’t make an official statement on the results, the Chinese consulate quickly called a news conference to announce the ruling as illegitimate.

Although the decision heavily favored the Philippines, its new president, Rodrigo Duterte, has indicated that he may consider open discussions with Beijing.

“Manila might think it can leverage the decision, but Duterte undermined his own supposed cause before the ruling was even announced by saying he was willing to negotiate one-on-one with Beijing, possibly [to] share resources and welcome mainland Chinese infrastructure investment,” said East Asia specialist Sean King.

Originally posted here.

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