Experts at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario, released the following statement today in reaction to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in the case brought by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“What we witnessed today was a welcome clarification of legal norms that the entire international community depends upon to help resolve interstate conflict,” said David Welch, CIGI Senior Fellow & Chair of Global Security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. “While the Philippines has won on a number of important points, it is important to see this as a win-win even for China, whose growth and prosperity depend upon having a clear and widely accepted set of rules of the road. Let us hope that Beijing’s unhappiness at the substance of the decision will yield to calm recognition of its long-term benefits.”

“The Court’s ruling deals a symbolic but important blow to China’s maritime ambitions. China finds itself in a bind; on the one hand, if it ignores the Court’s decision, as it has long declared it will, it greatly undermines its international standing as an emerging global power. On the other hand, if Beijing decides to reverse its position and acknowledge the ruling, it will likely face a nationalistic backlash from its population. There is no simple way forward for China,” said Benoit Hardy-Chartrand, Senior Research Associate.

Media Contact:

Sean Zohar, Communications Advisor, CIGI         
Tel: +1 519 497 9112, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank focused on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world.

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"...it is important to see this as a win-win even for China, whose growth and prosperity depend upon having a clear and widely accepted set of rules of the road,"
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