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South China Sea > News
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 09:09

Ruling 'null and void', with no binding force

By An Baijie in Beijing and Fu Jing in The Hague
 Ruling 'null and void', with no binding force
Xi refuses to accept any claims or activities based on the arbitral ruling. (Photo / China Daily)

China is committed to resolving disputes through direct negotiations, but its national sovereignty and maritime interests will not be influenced under any circumstances by the South China Sea ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal of The Hague, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

"The South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since ancient times," Xi said while meeting in Beijing with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. "We refuse to accept any claims or activities based on the arbitral ruling," he added.

The Arbitral Tribunal, appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, announced on Tuesday that China has no "historic title" over the South China Sea.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ruling "is null and void and has no binding force".

China has always respected international laws and justice and kept to a path of peaceful development, Xi said. Maritime disputes should be resolved though direct negotiations on the basis of respecting historical facts and in line with international laws, he added.

Premier Li Keqiang, while meeting with Tusk and Juncker, called on Europeans to insist on justice and remain neutral on the issue.

Beijing issued two statements immediately after the arbitration ruling was announced. Noting that Chinese activities in the South China Sea date back more than 2,000 years, one statement pointed out that China is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited the South China Sea Islands and surrounding waters.

Manila said it welcomed the ruling, but it urged "restraint and sobriety" by all parties involved.

Meanwhile, Taiwan said on Tuesday that it does not accept the tribunal's ruling. The decision on Taiping Island of the Nansha Islands has "seriously impaired" its rights, according to a news release from the office of Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen.

Taiwan reiterated that the disputes should be resolved through negotiations.

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