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30 June 2016

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has announced on 29 June 2016 that the Tribunal will issue its final Award on the arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday, 12 July 2016.

The Department of Foreign Affairs wishes to state the following:

1. The arbitration proceedings commenced on 22 January 2013 when the Philippines filed a Notification and Statement of Claim “with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea” pursuant to Articles 286 and 287 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and in accordance with Article 1 of Annex VII of the said Convention. The Philippines invited China to participate in the proceedings.

2. Following the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal and the adoption of the Rules of Procedures, the Philippines submitted a Memorial on 20 March 2014. China was requested by the Tribunal to submit a counter-memorial, but it rejected this request. However, on 7 December 2014, China issued a Position Paper, which the Tribunal treated together with certain communications from China as constituting a plea concerning jurisdiction. The Tribunal requested further written arguments from the Philippines for submission in March 2015.

3. The Tribunal heard Philippine oral arguments during the hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility on 7-13 July 2015. All Chinese arguments on jurisdiction and admissibility as contained in the Position Paper and other communications from China were properly considered. Article 9 of Annex VII of the Convention provides that “absence of a party or failure of a party to defend its case shall not constitute a bar to the proceedings. Before making an Award, the Arbitral Tribunal must satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction over the dispute but also that the claim is well-founded in fact and law.”

4. On 29 October 2015, the Tribunal issued a unanimous Award on jurisdiction and admissibility. China’s Position Paper was duly considered and thoroughly discussed in the Tribunal’s Award. The Tribunal held that China’s decision not to participate in these hearings does not deprive the Tribunal of jurisdiction and that the Philippines’ decision to commence arbitration unilaterally was not an abuse of the Convention’s dispute settlement procedures.

5. On 24-30 November 2015, the Tribunal conducted hearing on the merits and remaining issues and admissibility. The Philippines and China were given until 9 December 2015 to review and submit corrections to the transcript of the hearing, which is published in the official website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Tribunal also decided to provide China with the opportunity to comment in writing, by 1 January 2016, on anything said during the meeting or submitted in writing by the Philippines.

6. The Tribunal entered deliberations soon after, stating its intention to issue the Award in 2016. Despite its non-appearance, China is and remains a Party to the arbitration and is bound under international law by an Award rendered by the Tribunal.

7. The Philippines believes that the rule of law prescribes a just and peaceful means of resolving differences, which is why the Philippines will fully respect the Tribunal’s Award as an affirmation of the UNCLOS and hopes that members of the international community and Parties to the Convention will do the same.


Philippine Embassy in Brussels


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Consular matters: (+32) 02 340 33 73 
Consular matters: (+32) 02 340 33 74

Trunkline: (+32) 02 340 33 77 to 78

Fax Number: (+32) 02 345 64 25
Duty Officer: (+32) 0488 609.177


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