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CENTRALBATAM.CO.ID, INTERNATIONAL -An international tribunal will hand down a landmark ruling Tuesday in a case that will have major implications for one the world’s biggest geopolitical flashpoints — the South China Sea.

With the Philippines and China at loggerheads over Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over large swathes of the South China Sea, Manila took its fight to the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013.

China has refused to participate in the case, which marks the first time an international court has ruled on the sea’s mess of overlapping claims, and analysts expect the ruling to largely go against Beijing.

“Security has real consequences and, given that the South China Sea sees about half of the world’s trade flow and is one of its busiest trade routes, the ruling will impact trade and businesses worldwide,” said Eric Shimp, a trade policy adviser at law firm Alston & Bird.

“Pieces are already moving in Asia as the parties and other interested countries anticipate a ruling that favors the Philippines, but which China ignores.”

The United States is a key player in the region and has navigated warships and military aircraft around the South China Sea, including near disputed reefs and shoals, citing international law and freedom of movement but triggering harsh warnings from China. (cnn)

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