First, it seeks declarations that the Parties’ respective rights and obligations in regard to the waters, seabed, and maritime features of the South China Sea are governed by the Convention and that China’s claims based on “historic rights” encompassed within its so-called “nine-dash line” are inconsistent with the Convention and therefore invalid.
China’s “nine-dash line”, as depicted in a map submitted by China to the Secretary General of the United Nations in 2009, is reproduced at Figure 2 on page 5 below.
Second, the Philippines seeks determinations as to whether, under the Convention, certain maritime features claimed by both China and the Philippines are properly characterised as islands, rocks, low tide elevations, or submerged banks.
According to the Philippines, if these features are “islands” for the purposes of the Convention, they could generate an exclusive economic zone or entitlement to a continental shelf extending as far as 200 nautical miles.
If, however, the same features are “rocks” within the meaning of Article 121(3) of the Convention, they would only be capable of generating a territorial sea no greater than 12 nautical miles.
If they are not islands, but merely low-tide elevations or submerged banks, then pursuant to the Convention they would be incapable of generating any such entitlements.
The Philippines states that no amount of artificial reclamation work can change the status of the features for the purposes of the Convention.
The Philippines focuses in particular on Scarborough Shoal (highlighted in Figure 3 on page 7 below) and eight features in the Spratly Island Group (highlighted in Figure 4 on page 9 below).
Third, the Philippines seeks declarations that China has violated the Convention by interfering with the exercise of the Philippines’ sovereign rights and freedoms under the Convention and through construction and fishing activities that have harmed the marine environment.