- The arbitration panel’s decision strengthens the case of countries disputing with China over territory in the South China Sea
- However, many of these countries must make a delicate balance between standing up for their rights and not provoking Beijing’s ire
- The decision will solve nothing in the short term, while the Philippines and Vietnam are likely to strike conciliatory notes
- Taiwan, which had previously supported China’s claims, will soften this stance as it continues to distance itself from Beijing
A Hague-based arbitration panel has declared that China’s famous “nine-dash line” provides no legal basis for its claims to the vast maritime territory it encloses. The decision suddenly brings legal clarity to the dispute between Beijing and several countries in the region over control of islands and shipping lanes in the South China Sea. How these countries – in particular the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan – react will be critical to the peace and security in the region.