VietNamNet Bridge – The Hague’s Arbitral Tribunal on Tuesday finally rendered its long-awaited landmark ruling on the case of the Philippines versus China over claims to the East Sea (South China Sea). The result came after three years filled with complicated procedures, international clapping, bitter objections and ballyhooed exchanges of words. As the historic decision day approached, analysts and legal experts expected a ruling favourable to the Philippines following two hearings and some 4,000 pages of evidence submitted to the tribunal, yet how the ruling was delivered turned out to be unexpected. In an interview with Viet Nam News right after the ruling was announced, Dr Markus Gehring, deputy director of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for European Legal Studies, admitted he was a “little bit surprised at the clear, decisive language of the tribunal ruling”, which hardly left “any room for doubt” on what the panel truly meant in its decision, or how to interpret the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Such legal interpretations were heretofore drawn arbitrarily with China’s so-called ‘nine-dash line’ as the quintessential example, which was problematic to a great extent. The Arbitral Tribunal rejected loud and clear Beijing’s “historic rights” to resources within the sea area in the ‘nine-dash line’ and declared that none of the features in the Spratly Islands (Truong Sa) claimed by the northern powerhouse were capable of generating an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles as an individual feature nor as a collective unit….