China opposes Hague arbitration on S.China Sea dispute

8:38:00 PM
BEIJING, -- China on Tuesday reiterated its position of not participating in the South China Sea arbitration process initiated by Philippines at a Hague-based Tribunal.

China will refuse to recognize the conclusion of the arbitration requested by the Philippines over the bilateral maritime sovereignty dispute, a spokesperson said on Tuesday, after an international tribunal heard the matter at the Hague.

The Ministry asked Philippines to instead negotiate with Beijing directly.

“China has repeatedly expounded its position of not accepting or getting involved in these proceedings initiated unilaterally by the Philippines,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Hua Chunying said.

“On the issue of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, China will never accept any imposed plan, nor any solution arrived at by unilaterally resorting to a third party for resolving disputes,” Hua said.

The Philippines filed its arbitration case at the Hague in early 2013.

China, which claims about 90 per cent of the South China Sea, has said the “Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the arbitration”.

The hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility began last week and was concluded on Monday.

China refused to be involved in the proceedings, citing a policy of resolving disputes on territorial sovereignty and maritime rights only through direct consultation and negotiation with the countries directly involved.

She said China’s stance is based on “international law”.

The Philippines’ initiation of the arbitration ignored China’s legitimate rights under such international laws as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and breached commitments made by the Philippines not to unilaterally seek arbitration, according to Hua.

“Despite being the victim of the South China sea disputes, China remains highly restrained and keeps safeguarding regional peace and stability in mind,” Hua said.

Philippine had file a complaint with the Arbitral Tribunal questioning the validity of China’s “nine-dash” territorial claim, a demarcation on official Chinese maps that envelops virtually the entire South China Sea.

The Arbitral Tribunal operates under the intergovernmental Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

According to official Chinese data, the South China Sea covers 3.55 million square km.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations lay contesting claims to these waters.

China exercises jurisdiction over about 2 million square km of the maritime territory.

China has also cast aspersions on US moves to “provoke” tension by supporting its regional allies, Vietnam and the Philippines. Earlier last year, Washington partially lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move intended to bolster Hanoi’s confidence in its dealings with China.

The Philippine Marines raise the Philippine flag on the dilapidated navy ship LT57 BRP Sierra Madre at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal also known as Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines in the South China Sea. An uninhabited shoal / atoll in the Spratly group of islands, 105 nautical miles (194 km; 121 mi) west of Palawan, Philippines.

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