China / Government

South China Sea ruling 'null and void', says ministry

By LI XIAOKUN/WANG XU (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-31 07:41

The Foreign Ministry on Friday dismissed a ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal on the jurisdiction and admissibility of the South China Sea issue, saying it is null and void.

The ministry said in a statement released on its website that the result has no binding effect on China.

"The result of the ruling will by no means affect China's sovereignty and rights on the South China Sea," Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Friday at a media briefing.

The tribunal, established at the request of the Philippines, ruled on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over the South China Sea dispute.

China's sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea are grounded in history and protected under international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), according to the statement.

"With regard to territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China will not accept any solution imposed on it or any unilateral resort to a third-party dispute settlement," it said.

The statement also said that the Philippines' decision to seek arbitration was "a political provocation under the cloak of law".

"The motivation behind the arbitration is not to settle disputes, but an attempt to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea for its own sake." Liu said.

Chen Xiangyang, an expert on South China Sea studies with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, noted that the decision made by the Arbitral Tribunal came just two days after a US Navy ship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands.

"In my view, it is related, and that explains why the Philippines was vocal in its support for Washington's sailing," he said.

"The US ship and the legal battle made by the Philippines made the problem in the South China Sea even more complicated."

Chen Qinghong, another researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the issue in the South China Sea is far more complicated than something international law could solve.

"For instance, you have to take sovereignty, national emotions, public activities in history and traditional fishing grounds into consideration. So I think the best way to solve it is bilateral negotiations, in which the international law could be used."

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