The Philippines and China have been engaged in a contentious dispute over the South China Sea since 1996. In 1999, China put obstacles at three sea approaches to The Philippines’ only access to Hainan Island, and over the years, repeated Chinese intrusions have spurred calls for the Philippines to exit the arbitration court in The Hague, with many labeling the case a geopolitical face-off.
But a recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague threw that thought wide open. According to the Hague court, which Judge Dennis Waldron said would remain impartial and independent, the Philippines should have been allowed to seek redress in their dispute with China. According to The Telegraph, the ruling means that the Philippines no longer needs to stay in the arbitration court and could resume resupply missions to the Philippines’ only access to Hainan Island.
Within hours of the landmark ruling, the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, announced he would send a small military contingent back to the embattled coastline, calling it a victory for Philippine sovereignty.