South China Sea ruling hailed as equalizing small countries

July 13, 2016 11:38 AM

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MANILA, Philippines — In one of the world’s most disputed waters, the puny Philippine navy doesn’t stand a chance against China’s flotilla of combat ships. So when diplomacy went nowhere and Beijing’s ships seized a disputed shoal and surrounded another reef, Filipino officials took a desperate step: They went to court.

That gambit plunged Manila’s ties with China to a historic low but paid off in a monumental way Tuesday when an international arbitration tribunal declared China’s sprawling territorial claims and assertive actions in the South China Sea were invalid under a 1982 U.N. treaty governing the world’s oc...

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