Answer – VP/HR – Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling – Spratly and Paracel Islands – E-007254/2016
1. The EU consistently supports the Rule of Law, has issued two statements on the South China Sea including dispute settlements (March 11, 2016; July 15, 2016) and will continue to underline its importance in bilateral contacts.
2. An Award is binding between the two parties of the procedure; the EU encourages respect for the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to which it is a contracting party. The EEAS has already organised three High-Level Dialogues on Maritime Security Cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and will continue to do so. The upcoming co-chairmanship of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-sessional Meeting on Maritime Security will offer further opportunities for engagement in a larger context.
3. Respect for the Rule of Law is a main pillar of the EU Global Strategy and the EU is committed to engaging partners on this issue. It specifically mentions: ‘In East and Southeast Asia, we will uphold freedom of navigation, stand firm on the respect for international law, including the Law of the Sea and its arbitration procedures, and encourage the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes.’