Statement on 7th anniversary of 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal Ruling


July 11, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada today issued the following statement:

“On the anniversary of the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the matter of the South China Sea, Canada reiterates that this decision is final, binding on the parties, and provides a vital foundation for the peaceful resolution of competing maritime claims in the region, consistent with international law.

“People's Republic of China’s (China) continued refusal to accept the tribunal decision, and its coercive behaviour in the East and South China Seas, including the occupation of maritime features and the use of naval, coast guard, and maritime militia vessels to harass and obstruct the lawful operations of the ships of other states, are dangerous, and incompatible with China’s obligations under international law. Canada reaffirms its strong opposition to unilateral actions that threaten the status quo. We stand with the Philippines and all Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in upholding international law as the essential basis for safe and responsible maritime activity.

“As outlined in its Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada is working hand-in-hand with ASEAN member states, including the Philippines, to ensure full respect for international law, including UNCLOS, in the South China Sea. Agreement on a common way forward is essential to set conditions for effective, responsible, collaborative management of maritime resources, maintenance of maritime safety, and preservation of marine biodiversity. In this regard, Canada welcomes ongoing efforts by ASEAN member states and China to develop a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. We encourage transparency in these negotiations, and reiterate that any agreement must respect and uphold the rights enjoyed by all states under international law.”


Emily Williams
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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