World / South China Sea

Why China says no to arbitration over South China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-23 18:25

BEIJING - China's reiteration of nonacceptance of and nonparticipation in the Philippines-filed arbitration over South China Sea issue has concrete basis on international law and its reason can be summarized as three "NOs," a Chinese official of foreign affairs told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The three "NOs" are: the Philippine action has no basis on international law, the international arbitration tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, and the tribunal has no legitimacy, explained Zhou Jian, a representative for boundary and ocean affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China's stance on the South China Sea issue has won many countries' support. However, some nations for their own interests called China "despising international law" or "fearing to lose."

In response to such slander, Zhou said it is the Philippines that initiated the arbitration against international law.

First of all, what the Philippines did went against its agreement with China to solve disputes through bilateral negotiations and its commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Zhou said.

In addition, the Philippines has neglected the exclusion that territorial issues are beyond the scope of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the essence of the arbitration is over the sovereignty of some islands in the disputed waters, Zhou stressed.

China has excluded maritime delimitation and historical privileges from compulsory arbitration in a declaration in 2006 whereas the Philippines never discussed with China about the arbitration, the official said.

Moreover, an arbitration requires the consent of the two concerned parties but the Philippines went ahead against international practice, Zhou added.

"Given that the arbitration is out of a series of illegal actions, the arbitration tribunal consequently has no jurisdiction over the case and relevant issues," Zhou explained.

"The tribunal distorted UNCLOS to extend its jurisdiction and overstepped its power to judge the case. This is abuse of international law," Zhou pointed out.

"China says no to illegal actions. How can this be a violation of international law? The logic here is absurd. China is a builder and guardian of present international order."

"China's stance of nonacceptance of and nonparticipation in the arbitration not only secures its own interests but also preserves the right of other countries facing a similar situation. It is protecting the authority and completeness of the UNCLOS within its frame, said Zhou.

"This is why China's position on the South China Sea issue gained more and more countries' understanding and support," Zhou concluded.

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