On Tuesday, China received a binding decision from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands, regarding territorial claims in the South China Sea. The international tribunal ruled unanimously that China’s expansive assertion of sovereignty over the South China Sea had no legal or historical basis. The case was originally brought by the Philippines in 2013, and the case marks the first time the Chinese government has been summoned before the international justice system. The Philippines had asked the tribunal to find the claim to be in violation of the United Nationals Convention on the Law of Sea, which both China and the Philippines have ratified. Not only did the tribunal reject China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea, it also said that China had violated international law by causing irreparable harm to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine fishing and oil exploration. While the decision is legally binding, there is no mechanism for enforcing it. China did not participate in the tribunal’s proceedings and has pointedly rejected the decision and the government said they would not abide by it. There is much economic commerce performed in the South China Sea and the waters are claimed by several countries East Asia, including Vietnam and Malaysia.