By: MIKE CORDER, JIM GOMEZ Associated Press
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — An international tribunal ruled Thursday that it can
take on a case between China and the Philippines over disputed territory in the South China Sea, overruling objections from Beijing that the arbitration body has no authority to hear the case.
The Philippine case, which was filed before the tribunal in The Hague in January 2013, contends that China’s massive territorial claims in the strategic waters do not conform with the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and should be declared invalid. The Philippines also asserts that some Chinese-occupied reefs and shoals do not generate, or create a claim to, territorial waters.
The tribunal said it has authority to look into seven issues raised by the Philippines against China but added that its jurisdiction over seven others “will need to be considered in conjunction with the merits.” It asked Manila to clarify one other issue.
It said it has set hearings and expects to hand down a decision on the case next year. [FULL STORY]