A satellite photo of Fiery Cross Reef (Photo: CSIS)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Foreign experts around the world have voiced their support for a diplomatic settlement in the East Sea following the final ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague against China.

The PCA issued a ruling on July 12 on the case the Philippines brought against China , invalidating China’s “nine-dash” claim to a large swath of the East Sea.

According to Professor Eric David from Universite Libre de Bruxelles (the Free University of Brussels) in Belgium, China had violated international law by interfering with the Philippines’s fishing activities in its exclusive economic zone.

Professor David said China also has no right to impose an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over disputed islands on the East Sea as a country is allowed to establish the breadth of its territorial waters to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) out from its coastline.

On the other hand, China only has exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its legal territory, he explained.

He stressed that the ruling issued by the PCA is highly significant for countries in the region, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

The most important point in the PCA ruling by far was the invalidation of China’s claims on its historic rights to most of the East Sea that effectively kills the so-call “nine-dash” line, Gregory B. Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the US-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told a Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reporter in Washington on July 14.

The ruling is important not just to the Philippines , but all the claimants, including Vietnam , he noted. “It helps set the boundary for any future negotiation.”

The VNA reporter in Berlin quoted a German-based newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), on the same day saying that China was exerting “massive pressure” on smaller European Union (EU) member states, such as Greece , Cyprus and Croatia , in order to prevent an EU declaration regarding the PCA’s verdict.

The territorial dispute over the East Sea overshadowed the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) in Ulan Bator, Mongolia where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang objected to the ruling, saying the decision has no legal basis for China’s claims and the disputes should be settled through “bilateral negotiations of the parties concerned on the basis of historic facts,” reported the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underlined the importance of the rule of law and a peaceful resolution. Similarly, the Philippines ’s Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay Jr. at the summit discussed the need for all parties to respect the recent decision of the PCA.-VNA