Arbitral Tribunal gives China a chance: Vows to make decision on jurisdiction ASAP

The Arbitral Tribunal is giving China an opportunity to comment until August 17 in writing on Philippines’ arguments during the Hearing on Jurisdiction and Admissibility. Though China chose not to participate in the arbitration, the tribunal wants to “assure each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case” as prescribed under Article 5 of Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLoS).

The five-man tribunal says in a statement, dated July 13, that it now enters its deliberations and is conscious of its duty under the Rules of Procedure to conduct proceedings “to avoid unnecessary delay and expense and to provide a fair and efficient process.”

“The Arbitral Tribunal will endeavour to issue its decision on such issues of Jurisdiction and Admissibility that it determines appropriate as soon as possible and expects to do so before the end of the year,” the tribunal said.

“In the event that the Arbitral Tribunal determines that it has jurisdiction over some or all of the Philippines’ claims, it will then proceed to a hearing on the merits,” it said.

Philippines has presented its position on the the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility from July 7 to 13. The tribunal gave Philippines until July 23 to submit further written responses to the questions posed by the Arbitral Tribunal during the hearing.