By Tuan Tran
VietNamNet Bridge – China's statement to withdraw from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) in response to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is not entirely a new idea, but if this scenario actually happens, it will have two major impacts on regional and international order.
Earlier, on June 20, the Japan Times cited a Chinese diplomat as saying that Beijing may withdraw from UNCLOS 1982 as an act of retaliation if the PCA’s decision is contrary to the “position" of Beijing.
Since the PCA accepted 7/15 submissions of the Philippines, many experts believe that the judgment of the PCA will be unfavorable to China.
Beijing has always insisted that it will not accept nor respect the decision of the PCA even if China has been a member of the UNCLOS since 1996.
Firstly, this is the first time since UNCLOS was established that a powerhouse would withdraw from UNCLOS because of a disagreement with the PCA’s verdict.
This would erode the credibility of the PCAand UNCLOS, and create a bad precedent if a power denies the value of the Court.
Secondly, China’s withdrawal from UNCLOS would make countries that sue China in other cases think of other difficult options and make the path to settle disputes peacefully more thorny.
Institution and laws are the solution for the weak, and peaceful methods are the most effective for dispute resolution, so if the institutional power cannot be applied, muscular strength will prevail.
However, for the long-term benefits such a scenario is a completely uncomfortable for China since it will pose two huge challenges for this country.
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