An online magazine of news and opinions from the Asia New Zealand Foundation

South China Sea ruling - Asian media reaction

Following the long-awaited ruling from the United Nations Convention of the Law of the sea (UNCLOS) Tribunal on the South China Sea, Asia New Zealand Foundation staff members Dr James To and Pip McLachlan have pulled together a selection of immediate regional responses, as reported by Asian media.



Beijing’s stance remains resolute in not accepting the verdict:


While Filipinos are celebrating the outcome, the government is remaining cautious and has urged restraint and sobriety: 

The Philippine Embassy in China has warned its citizens to beware of personal “threats” and avoid political debates: 

Playing on the term Brexit, Chexit is a trending hashtag in the Philippines:


Taipei does not accept the ruling: 

Taipei is also unhappy that it was not consulted, despite being a claimant:


Vietnam makes a surprisingly brief statement in support of the ruling, with a more detailed position to follow:


Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry has called for the claimants to exercise “self-restraint” to avoid escalating tensions and says the dispute can be resolved peacefully:



Given its own unresolved territorial claims, Tokyo has backed the verdict:

Local media have also warned of implications and future challenges when the ambition of larger powers clashes with their respect of legal principles:


The Straits Times has given plenty of coverage of the verdict from a variety of perspectives, including local analysis suggesting China is unlikely to withdraw from UNCLOS given its maritime interests elsewhere:


There is little difference between its official response and New Zealand’s:

Indonesian analyst Ben Sukadis notes “given the worrisome developments in the region, it is time for Indonesia to assume its de-facto leadership in Asean”:


Thai political scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak calls the post-ruling landscape "paramount" and says the ruling will give China and ASEAN a chance to mend their rifts by working together with common rules:

He also highlights ASEAN’s need to unite in order to respond effectively to China’s maritime claims:

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13 July 2016