An arbitral tribunal hearing the Philippines’ territorial case against China has ordered Beijing to submit its counter-argument by December 15.
China has reiterated it will not participate in the proceedings.
In a statement released on June 3, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) set the deadline for China to submit its counter-affidavit in response to the memorial filed by the Philippines.
The PCA acts as the registry in the proceedings.
“The arbitral tribunal will determine the further course of the proceedings, including the need for, and scheduling of any other written submissions and hearings, at an appropriate later stage, after seeking the views of the parties,” the statement said.
The Philippines submitted its memorial last March 30.
The tribunal said although China has announced its intention not to take part in the proceedings, it will still be given the chance to air its side.
The arbitration between Manila and Beijing was initiated on January 22 last year when the Philippines served China with a Notification and Statement of Claim over maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
On February 19 also last year, China presented a diplomatic note to the Philippines, officially rejecting the proceedings and returning the notification.
The arbitral tribunal went on to complete a five-member team headed by Judge Thomas Mensah of Ghana.
The members are Judge Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Judge Stanislaw Pawlak of Poland, Professor Alfred Soons of the Netherlands and Judge Rüdiger Wolfrum of Germany.
Even without China’s participation, Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), under which the arbitration was filed, allows the case to be tried.