BEIJING (AP) — Even before a ruling, China may have lost by refusing to cooperate with a U.N. arbitration tribunal over its South China Sea claims. Yet Beijing seems prepared to absorb the cost to its reputation, confident that in terms of territory and resources, it won’t lose a thing.
Regardless of China’s arguments denying the panel’s legality, it “will damage China’s reputation and image,” said Yun Sun, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at the U.S. Stimson Center think tank. However, Sun said that’s considered a relatively small price to pay to retain control over the “tangible real territory,” far more important than any question of “face.”
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