|The Permanent Court of Arbitration is based in the Hague,
Netherlands (Photo via PCA website)
The court ruled that, even though Chinese sailors and fishermen have historically made use of these islands, so have other countries and there is no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, according to a report in the ARRL Letter. China refused to participate in the arbitration and said it is not bound by the ruling.
It is unclear what, if any, impact the decision may have on future efforts by amateurs to operate DXpeditions from disputed islands in the South China Sea. They have historically been very dangerous locations, with several instances of hams being fired on by naval vessels.