Golez: This is backed by international law: "Australia, Japan And U.S.: The South China Sea Isn't China's Own Sea" https://t.co/D5LgwveVtA
IMHO, the position of Australia, Japan and the USA that most of the South China Sea is international waters is confirmed by international law as ruled by the Arbitral Tribunal that repudiated China's claims and their nine-dash line. Under the ruling last year, July 12, 2016, China can claim only a 200-mile exclusive economic zone extending from Hainan.
The other coastal states of the South China Sea, namely the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam also has their respective 200-mile EEZs. So the center part of the South China Sea, roughly with a length and width of around 600 miles, is part of the Global Commons, or international waters owned by no country. So all countries are free to use the Global Commons and China cannot claim that there are outsiders.
All countries have an interest in the Global Commons in so far as freedom of navigation and resources are concerned. So neither China nor the Philippines can call any country an "outsider" as far as the Global Commons are concerned.
I quote from this Forbes article:
"Australia, Japan and the U.S. have a clear and loud message for China: The South China Sea isn't China's own sea. It's an international sea. That’s why the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Beijing must establish a set of rules that were "legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law."
"The message, which came at a recent gathering of the foreign ministers of the three countries in Manila, echoes a similar message America and its naval allies, France, Japan and Britain sent to Beijing six months ago stating that the South China Sea should be open to all military vessels.
"That’s according to a recent Chinatopix.com report. "Japan and the United States are worried by China's efforts to exercise unilateral control over the South China Sea, a concern shared by France, which controls several Pacific islands, including New Caledonia and French Polynesia."