The Philippines-China Maritime Dispute: Mapping Post-Arbitration Narratives and Ways Forward


  • Bill Odchigue



South China Sea Arbitration , foreign policy , enforcement


This study mapped out post-arbitration narratives to comprehend the power play in the Asia-Pacific region and to survey reasonable options for the resolution of the maritime dispute of the Philippines and China. The PCA rendered its decision on the SCS Arbitration to China's rejection on July 12, 2016. Six years later, the Award failed to resolve the region's geopolitics and geoeconomics and reached an enforcement deadlock. The non-recognition and absence of UNCLOS enforcement mechanism, the inadequacies of the state-level conditions of the Philippines which stands in stark contrast to the preponderance of China, the structural realist ASEAN consensus, and US non-aligned position on competing claims have notably incentivized the aggressive resolve of China in the SCS. However, diplomatic activism grounded on mutual interests and advantages on economic, political and administrative imperatives are potential pathways for settlement. This is rather a delicate exercise if China should not take the lead. In the foreseeable future, the Philippines will maintain playing the waiting game in terms of enforcing its rights outlined in the ruling, as paths forward remain unlikely to deliver a modus vivendi for both countries given current state-level conditions and surrounding international circumstances.

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How to Cite

Odchigue, B. (2022). The Philippines-China Maritime Dispute: Mapping Post-Arbitration Narratives and Ways Forward. Langkit : Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 11, 45–64.