India's reaction came after the tribunal ruled that China has no legal basis to claim "historic rights" to islands in South China Sea. The ruling states that piling dirt and sand on rocky outcroppings and reefs doesn't confer additional resource rights to the waters around it. Simultaneously, India's statement was also a reminder that India took an adverse UNCLOS ruling on the chin to resolve a maritime boundary issue with Bangladesh two years ago.
In reaching its findings, the Tribunal noted that UNCLOS classifies land features only on their natural condition and that islands generate an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles and a continental shelf, but "rocks which can not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf".
Asserting that it "does not accept and does not recognise" the ruling, China rejected the verdict as "null and void".
Rich in resources and traversed by a quarter of global shipping, the South China Sea is the stage for several territorial disputes that threaten to escalate tensions in the region.
The U.S. Navy referred all questions on the ruling to the State Department.
"In the aftermath of this important decision, we urge all claimants to avoid provocative statements or actions". "This decision can and should serve as a new opportunity to renew efforts to address maritime disputes peacefully".
In its examination of the contested Scarborough Shoal off the western coast of the Philippines, the Court found historical evidence that both Chinese and Filipino fisherman operated near the shoal, but it ruled that by ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1996, China had signed on to a new worldwide system for establishing territorial control and could no longer assert historic carve-outs to that agreement.
The above positions are consistent with relevant worldwide law and practice.
Although the ruling would settle some of the disputes, China has refused to honor the decision and their participation in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In a phone call on Wednesday, Wang told Kerry the US should stick to its promises not to take sides in disputes, according to China's foreign ministry. The Beijing-Manila dispute "is being used as a bargaining chip in a strategic contest between the major powers in the Asia-Pacific region", Zhu Feng, a South China Sea analyst at Nanjing University in east China, wrote.
One subtext is to highlight how China is not playing by worldwide rules.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by others. Since then, Pentagon leaders have announced joint patrols with the Philippines and have embarked on close patrols of some disputed claims and islands.
Among the foremost flash points in the South China Sea is Scarborough Shoal.
It also found that China had interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration at Reed Bank, tried to stop fishing by Philippine vessels within the country's exclusive economic zone and failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.
The Court officials claimed that throughout the course of the proceedings, China "aggravated and extended the disputes" by "dredging, artificial island-building, and construction activities" in the areas in question.
Feelings were running high on both sides of the dispute in the run-up to Tuesday's ruling.
It said the Chinese Coast Guard "had unlawfully created a serious risk of collision when they physically obstructed Philippine vessels".