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China is now facing challenges to its maritime claims. The Philippines has just filed a lawsuit to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea against China over a dispute concerning its fishing rights in the South China Sea.Manila considers itself to be solely entitled to all economic rights, including fishing rights, in its exclusive economic zone, per the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Since China drew the so-called "nine-dotted line" in 1947, claiming part of the South China Sea as its own – including an area that is part of the Philippines' EEZ – Manila has demanded that Beijing yield its economic claim in the overlapping area claimed by both countries.There are two categories of dispute at stake – sovereignty and economic rights – and China has strong claims on both. Until 1997, the Philippines accepted that it was not entitled to sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, but China has not accepted Manila's EEZ without reservation.
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