The Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UN treaty for the Law of the Sea found against China’s efforts to build artificial islands and lay claim to the South China Sea. The complaint was brought by The Philippines against the Communist country and though China has declared its intention to ignore the ruling, it deals a hard blow to the legitimacy of China’s effort to dominate the regional waters.
At issue was China’s claim that a 1947 map with a dashed line running through the disputed waters recognized its sovereignty over the area (called the nine dash line). The Arbitration panel found that China’s islands are not legitimate land features and that the Chinese have done “severe harm” to the environment with their island building campaign. Thus denying China’s claims of control over much of the South China Sea.
While the panel’s determination are binding, it has no enforcement mechanism.