World / Asia-Pacific

Philippines' dispute with China over S. China Sea politically motivated: Expert

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-26 13:37

MEXICO CITY - The Philippines is seeking a political victory, not a real territorial solution, to disputes concerning the South China Sea, an expert in Mexico has said.

Manila should seek to resolve the conflict by engaging in a bilateral dialogue with China, Marisela Connelly, a Chinese studies professor at the College of Mexico, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague is expected to soon give its verdict on a dispute brought forward by the Philippines concerning China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

"This is a political matter for the Philippines concerning balance of power in the region. This is clear as the U.S. is an ally of the Philippines and is increasing its military presence in the country," Connelly said.

The Philippines brought the case to the PCA in January 2013, stating that China is infringing on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

However, Beijing has steadfastly stated that neither the PCA nor UNCLOS apply to matters of national sovereignty.

Connelly said the Chinese reaction is fully justified as China has consistently sought to entertain good relations with its neighbors, including the Philippines.

China has always maintained that dialogue is the best way to resolve bilateral problems, including issues about the South China Sea, said the expert. The Philippines' request to the PCA also surprised her as Manila has expressed interest in expanding trade with China in order to benefit its own development, said Connelly.

The professor said China sees national sovereignty as a matter of supreme importance, especially after unjust international treaties resulted in China losing some of its territories in the past.

"In this case with the Philippines, China is showing that it will not give up its territories and that it will not be pressured to do so by anyone," she said.

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