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Protecting the Rules-Based Order at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

“It is just a piece of waste paper. You may just chuck it in the bin, leave it on the shelf, or put it in archives.”

Those words were spoken by Liu Zhenmin, then the vice foreign minister for the People’s Republic of China, at a July 2016 press conference in Beijing.

  • Jonathan G. Odom
  • LawFare

One day prior to his remarks, a tribunal constituted under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) had issued a comprehensive, 501-page ruling in the South China Sea arbitration case between the Republic of the Philippines and China.

As a state party to UNCLOS, the Philippines had initiated the…

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