Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a ruling that will be claimed as a victory by the Philippines.
"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.
In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work.
China, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it will not be bound by any ruling.
The Philippines welcomed the ruling said the country's Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay, as he urged restraint. "The Philippines welcomes the issuance today... on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea," Yasay told reporters minutes after the court in The Hague released its verdict.
(Feature image source: Twitter)