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The disputes over the South China Sea between China and the Philippines are not appropriate for a judicial settlement or arbitration, according to a group of leading experts on international law who concluded a seminar in the Hague.

Pemmaraju Sreenivasa Rao, former chairman of the UN International Law Commission, said the tribunal has put itself in a very difficult position.

“The tribunal said it would not try to settle sovereignty disputes, but only to determine geological features. However, the Philippines’ claims will eventually lead to the question of who owns it, and the tribunal has no jurisdiction over this matter,” said Rao, who participated in the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1973 to 1982 that led to the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“I think China is doing a good job,” he added. China is a role model for many countries now in terms of discipline, in terms of direction, in terms of spending more money inside the country for infrastructure and economic development.”

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