New Delhi: Beijing on Tuesday rejected the jurisdiction of an international arbitration panel that has ruled that there is no legal basis for China's historic claims in the South China Sea in a case initiated by the former government of the Philippines.
China, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration established at the “unilateral request of the Republic of the Philippines” is “null and void and has no binding force.”
The international tribunal on Tuesday ruled unanimously that there is no legal basis for China's"nine-dash line" claiming rights to much of the South China Sea.
The panel of legal experts in The Hague said that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a U.N. treaty.
“On 22 January 2013, the then government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated arbitration on the relevant disputes in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines. On 19 February 2013, the Chinese government solemnly declared that it neither accepts nor participates in that arbitration and has since repeatedly reiterated that position,” the statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
In a strongly worded statement, China said, “The unilateral initiation of arbitration by the Philippines is out of bad faith. It aims not to resolve the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines, or to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, but to deny China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.”
“China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” it said.
China reiterated that it does not accept any means of third party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China regarding territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes.
The Philippines has heartily welcomed the ruling by international panel. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay called it a "milestone decision" and pledged to pursue a peaceful resolution of its territorial disputes with China.
"The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea," he said.
Perfecto Yasay urged all concerned "to exercise restraint and sobriety" and said the ruling is "an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea."
"The Philippines welcomes the issuance today, 12 July 2016 of the award by the arbitral tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration and their annex 7 of the 1982 United Nations convention on the law of the seas, or UNCLOS on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea. Our experts are studying the award with a care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. In the meantime we call on those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety. The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea," he said.
China drafted its so-called nine-dash line to demarcate its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea. Manila brought the case because China's claims infringe upon its own 200-mile exclusive economic zone. The dispute centers on waters through which an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes through each year and are home to rich fishing stocks and a potential wealth of oil, gas and other resources.