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African leader backs Beijing

By Zhang Yunbi and An Baijie | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2016-07-10 14:16

The Republic of the Congo has joined the list of more than 60 nations that have publicly voiced their support for China in an arbitration case on South China Sea issues.

Meeting with President Xi Jinping on July 5, the African nation's president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, said his country backs China on these issues and will closely coordinate with Beijing on global affairs.

A ruling is expected on July 12 by an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, established without the Chinese government's consent to tackle the case brought unilaterally by the Philippines.

The 60-plus countries that have voiced support for China include India, Russia, Kenya and several regional organizations such as the Arab League.

Beijing has called for bilateral negotiations over the dispute with Manila, and has stated that it will not participate nor accept the arbitration, as the tribunal has no jurisdiction over issues concerning sovereignty and marine demarcation.

The countries supporting the Philippines include mainly the G-7 nations led by the United States, an ally of Manila.

The Philippines sought compulsory proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to establish the tribunal.

But new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said Manila is ready to talk to China and not go to war after the arbitration ruling.

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