For South China Sea claimants, a legal venue to battle China
By Greg Torode
HONG KONG, Feb 13 (Reuters) - When Philippine President
for global support as his country battles Beijing's claims in
the South China Sea, he put the focus on a case that Manila has
filed in an international court.
The Philippines has taken its dispute with China to
arbitration under the United Nations' Convention on the Law of
the Sea and its lawyers say that the tribunal has discretionary
powers to allow other states to join the action.
China is refusing to participate and has already warned
Vietnam against joining the case being heard at the Permanent
Court of Arbitration at The Hague, sources have said. Hanoi has
so far kept its options open.
Any final ruling by the court on the dispute, one of the
most tense flashpoints in Asia, cannot be enforced but will
carry considerable moral and political weight, analysts say.
"If a large number of countries, including members of ASEAN,
speak out in support of the application of international law to