Raul Dancel, Philippines Correspondent in Manila
High stakes for Philippines in its legal fight with China
Published on Apr 17, 2014 7:02 AM
As far as diplomatic gambits go, the stakes don't get any higher than the Philippines' decision to challenge China's contentious South China Sea territorial claims at a United Nations tribunal.
The 4,000-page plea that Manila filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on March 30 essentially argues that China's claims - based on the "nine-dash line", a map which suggests that Beijing controls 90 per cent of the South China Sea - are "exaggerated" and "illegal".
Beijing has said it will not be a party to the case, and has argued that unless it agrees to participate, the arbitration court should not even be entertaining the Philippines' case.
The legal wrangling surrounding the case is expected to play out for at least two years. But what is immediately clear is that the Philippines cannot afford to lose this one because the consequences could be severe.
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