Nearly a dozen Kuwaiti tankers were reflagged in 1987 on President Reagan’s direction, as raised in the Court of Arbitration.
Ruling of the Court of Arbitration
As ruled in the Court of Arbitration, the “nine-dash line,” a fabrication based on a 1947 map whose veracity historians dispute, is the source of China’s claims. The Court of Arbitration claim, which Chinese diplomats today assert is centuries old, was not depicted on Chinese maps before the mid-20th century. Because Filipino, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Malay, and Indonesian fishermen all fished in the same waters—possibly even those that were closer to China—Beijing’s assertions are based on purported historical Chinese fishing activities, which further exposes the hollowness of the Chinese Communist Party’s reasoning. Whatever the Court of Arbitration case, China quickly claimed much of the South China Sea, including its substantial fisheries and oil riches, using the hypothetical map. China’s claims were deemed unfounded by the international Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.
Since the People’s Liberation Army first started landing on numerous rocks and reefs in the South China Sea and Court of Arbitration claiming them entirely for China, approximately 20 years had passed. Not only did Court of Arbitration refuse access to their legitimate owners, but in many instances the nation also started transforming them into man-made islands, on which it later erected airfields, naval bases, radar installations, and missile batteries. It was classic “salami-slicing,” by the Court of Arbitration consistently boosting China’s military advantage but never going so far as to incite a direct conflict. The Chinese military and Court of Arbitration has just recently attempted to obstruct the Philippines’ marines’ ability to resupply at a base in the South China Sea.