China is closing off part of the region for military drills this week in South China Sea after losing case over its territorial claims.
Beijing’s maritime administration had issued a warning Monday that an area located in the island province of Hainan would be off limits in three days to host military exercises adding that entrance was “prohibited”.
The area identified as some distance from the Paracel islands and even further from the Spratlys, with both chains claimed by Beijing and several other neighbouring states.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague ruled that there was no evidence for Beijing’s claims to much of the sea, including so called “nine-dash line” that dates from 1940s maps and stretches closed to other countries’ coasts.
Manila welcomed the decision as China dismissed it as a “piece of waste paper”.
Despite Chinese objections, the European Union weighed in on the subject at a regional summit with President Donald Tusk saying that the grouping ‘will continue to speak out in support of upholding international law’ that it had ‘full confidence’ in the PCA and its decisions.
Diplomats said that China had pressured countries in the ASEAN bloc of Southeast Asian nations not to issue a joint statement on the ruling.
Beijing held military exercises in the South China Sea just days before the Hague ruling, state media reported. China rapidly built reefs in the waters into artificial islands capable for military use.
The maritime administration said that four out of five lighthouses built atop islands and reefs in the sea have been activated and the fifth one could be soon put into use, stated in a separate message on its website.