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Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 09:29

China does not accept arbitration: Ambassador

By Xinhua

China does not accept arbitration: Ambassador
China's ambassador in France, Zhai Jun, attends the presentation of a mechanical horse-dragon made of wood and steel in Nantes, western France on August 26, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD)
PARIS - In an op-ed recently carried by the French daily Le Figaro, Chinese Ambassador to France Zhai Jun has reiterated the country's stance that China does not accept the arbitration on the South China Sea issue.

The sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters belongs to China, Zhai noted in the signed article published on June 24.

In the 1970s, the Philippines successively seized several of the Chinese Nansha islands and started to claim sovereignty of these island and the surrounding waters, which the Chinese government repeatedly denounced as a serious violation of China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, Zhai said.

The dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea is in fact about the sovereignty of the islands, Zhai explained.

The arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines are based on certain provisions of The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) adopted in 1982. At the same time, the Convention also allows a member State to declare in writing that it does not accept one or more compulsory dispute settlement procedures of certain categories of disputes.

The Chinese government made such a statement in 2006 rejecting any binding dispute resolution, including the arbitration, for disputes concerning the delimitation of maritime areas, and application of laws, as well as for the disputes that the United Nations are exercising functions to resolve by its Carter, Zhai said.

So, the Philippines have tried to hide its real purpose of its requests. It's obvious that these requests in fact are about the sovereignty of certain islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and they aim to legitimize the claims of the Philippines in this manner, Zhai wrote.

China has all along stood for peacefully settling territorial and maritime delimitation disputes through negotiation with countries directly concerned. Since quite a long time ago, there has been an agreement in this direction for the settlement of disputes in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines through the Joint Statement between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines concerning Consultations on the South China Sea and on Other Areas of Cooperation states signed in 1995, the Joint Statement of the China-Philippines Experts Group Meeting on Confidence-Building Measures signed in 1999, the Joint Statement between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century signed in 2000, and several other documents signed by the two governments, Zhai continued.

The consensus of China and the Philippines regarding the settlement of disputes through negotiations has been confirmed in multilateral frameworks. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which China signed in 2002 with the Philippines and other ASEAN member states, states that "the Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means... through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," the Chinese ambassador explained.

These bilateral documents and the provisions of the DOC constitute an agreement between China and the Philippines who have obligation to negotiate to resolve their differences. Negotiation is the only way accepted by both parties to settle their disputes over the South China Sea, including demands introduced by the Philippines to the Arbitral Tribunal.

The arbitration on the South China Sea is undoubtedly the result of the intervention of outside powers and the will of an Arbitration Tribunal which does not hesitate to excessively expand its competence. Similarly, some voices urging China to accept the ruling of the Arbitration Tribunal reflect an international context which is more than complex. With this arbitration, it is not only the right of China but rather the rights of all state parties to UNCLOS that are violated, Zhai stressed.

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