International Court of Justice to hear South China Sea dispute
Philippines filed the case in 2013 to seek a ruling on its right to exploit the South China Sea waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, dismissing claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Court of Arbitration rejected Beijing’s claim that the disputes were about territorial sovereignty and said additional hearings would be held to decide the merits of the Philippines’ arguments.
China has boycotted the proceedings and rejects the court’s authority in the case.
China, facing international legal scrutiny for the first time over its assertiveness in the South China Sea.
What is exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial sea ?
An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.
It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast.
A territorial sea as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state.
The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state.
Foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it.
This sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below.