South China Sea row: China rejects arbitration court ruling

southchinasea-newAmid global spotlight, an international tribunal has ruled that China’s claims to the South China Sea have no historical or legal basis and censured Beijing for violating sovereign rights of the Philippines.

The case was initiated by the Philippines in 2013 over China’s territorial claims and building of reefs and islands in the region. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands has ruled that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were invalid if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a UN. treaty.

Beijing, which was anticipating a negative verdict, promptly rejected the ruling and rubbished it as a “null and void.”

China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards,” the ministry stressed. “China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards.”

The Philippines has welcomed the milestone decision. “The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts of pursuing the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with the view of promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said.

“The award is a complete and total victory for the Philippines … a victory for international law and international relations,” said Paul Reichler, lead lawyer for the Philippines.