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South China Sea > News
Friday, July 8, 2016, 10:06

US must 'respect China's sovereignty'

By An Baijie

Senior Chinese diplomats have recently sent strong signals to the United States to respect China's sovereignty and security interests as an arbitral tribunal's ruling on the South China Sea dispute draws near.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday that the so-called South China Sea arbitration is tainted "with an illogical and flawed application of procedures, laws and evidence".

"The Arbitral Tribunal (in The Hague), which clearly has been expanding and overstretching its jurisdiction beyond the limit, has no jurisdiction at all (over the South China Sea disputes)," Wang said. "Any award it makes in disregard of the laws and facts is naturally not legally binding."

Wang made the remarks in a phone conversation with Kerry in which they discussed maritime issues.

"The arbitration tribunal farce should come to an end," Wang told Kerry. The foreign minister urged the US to honor its commitment to not taking sides on issues related to sovereignty disputes, to be prudent in its actions and words, and to not take any action that infringes upon the sovereignty and security interests of China.

Regardless of the outcome of the so-called arbitration, China will firmly safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights and firmly protect peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang said.

In early 2013, the Philippines unilaterally launched the arbitration case against China over maritime disputes. The tribunal's ruling in the case is to be announced on Tuesday. China insists that the tribunal, appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, has no jurisdiction over the issue because it concerns sovereignty and security issues.

Direct negotiations

China remains committed to peacefully resolving the disputes through negotiations and consultations directly with the parties involved, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the fundamental principles of international law and international relations, Wang said.

China-US relations are generally on a sound track, and the two countries should further focus on cooperation while properly managing their differences, he said.

Kerry said the US understands that China has its own stance on the arbitration. He also expressed hope that all parties exercised restraint.

The US and China have a common interest in keeping the peace and stability in the South China Sea, and the United States supports countries in the region to make continuous efforts to peacefully resolve disputes through diplomatic means, Kerry added.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, said during an interview with Reuters on June 9 that it is illegal for a tribunal to handle this case.

"China, like 30 other countries, made a declaration in 2006, that China will not take part in third-party arbitration when it comes to maritime delimitation," he said. "The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides that sovereign countries have their sovereign right to make these declarations on optional exceptions."

Fu Ying, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's top legislature, said at the Royal Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday that Chinese people increasingly believe that the US is undermining China's national interests, especially as more US military aircraft approach China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

 
 
 
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