China: US violates, distorts international law on SCS dispute

CHINA has lashed out at United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken who sided with the Philippines in the arbitration tribunal ruling that trashes China’s historic claim in the South 
China Sea.

Wang Wenbin, spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stressed that the US is an outsider, being a “non-regional country” and nonclaimant in the South China Sea dispute.

“The US has been ignoring the history and facts of the South China Sea issue and violated and distorted international law.

“It has broken its public commitment of taking no position on sovereign claims in the South China Sea, and sought to drive a wedge between regional countries and undermine peace and stability in the region,” Wang said.

On the sixth anniversary of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling Tuesday, Blinken released a statement saying Washington affirms the policy that Beijing’s maritime claims in the gas-rich islands are “completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”

Blinken added: “We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Beijing said Blinken’s statement is “extremely irresponsible.”

“We urge the US to respect China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea, stop stirring up trouble and stop using the South China Sea issue to sow discord between regional countries,” Wang added.

Wang also stood firmly on its position that it will never recognize nor accept The Hague arbitral tribunal decision, in reaction to the assertion made by Philippine DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo that the award is “final” and “indisputable.”

“The so-called award of the South China Sea arbitration seriously violates international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is illegal, null and void. China neither accepts nor recognizes it and will never accept any claim or action based on the award. By doing so, we are upholding international rule of law,” Wang said.

China claimed this position “has received broad understanding and support from the international community.”

Wang added, “Those who attempt to infringe on China’s sovereignty, rights and interests by implementing this illegal award will not succeed. China will respond to such attempts in accordance with law.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry official also assured the international community that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “are fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” a pre-document which only states that China and Asean members are willing to have a set of rules of conduct in the disputed area.

He added that Asean and China are “working actively to advance” the negotiations for the code of conduct in the South China Sea.

The negotiations, now on their 10th year since the declaration was signed, have yet to advance from the preamble statement, diplomatic sources told BusinessMirror.

“It has been agreed by all sides that the South China Sea issue should be handled following the dual-track approach, namely, maritime disputes should be handled properly by countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation, and peace and stability should be jointly safeguarded by China and Asean countries,” Wang said.

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