Today the Arbitral Tribunal released its final decision on the Philippines’ South China Sea arbitration case.

The Australian Government calls on the Philippines and China to abide by the ruling, which is final and binding on both parties.

The Tribunal in the Philippines’ arbitration case was established in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Tribunal’s decision was not about sovereignty, but about maritime rights under UNCLOS.

UNCLOS provides all countries with a clear framework for the lawful uses of our oceans. It facilitates free and open trade, includes well-established rights to freedom of navigation and overflight, and supports the peaceful resolution of disputes in the maritime space.

Australia supports the right of all countries to seek to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.

All claimant states have benefited enormously from the rules-based international order.

Adherence to international law is the foundation for peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia, as it has for many years.

This decision is an important test case for how the region can manage disputes peacefully.

It is an opportunity for the region to come together, and for claimants to re-engage in dialogue with each other based on greater clarity around maritime rights.

Australia urges all South China Sea claimants to resolve their disputes through peaceful means.

We urge claimants to refrain from coercive behaviour and unilateral actions designed to change the status quo in disputed areas.  

Australia will continue to exercise our international law rights to freedom of navigation and overflight, and support the right of others to do so.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has published the decision on its website [https://www.pcacases.com/web/view/7].

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