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Arbitration on South China Sea dispute 'to solve nothing': Cypriot expert

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-30 10:44

NICOSIA - An arbitration unilaterally demanded by the Philippines regarding its disputes with China over the South China Sea is very unusual, of dubious value, and is going to solve nothing, said a senior Cypriot diplomat and international law expert.

"It is unusual in that it aims at establishing sovereignty under a procedure provided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which, however has nothing to do with sovereign rights," Dr. Andrestinos Papadopoulos, Cypriot former ambassador and doctor of international law from the University of Geneva, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"At the same time, this arbitration is dubious in that it is obvious that the other state involved, the People's Republic of China, is certain to reject its conclusions as it is violating international agreements," Papadopoulos added.

He noted the crux of the dispute between the two countries was the occupation by the Philippines since the 1970s of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

He also noted the territory of the Philippines was clearly defined by a series of international treaties.

Papadopoulos said the position of China was based on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which China signed in 2002 with the Philippines and other ASEAN member states, which states "the Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means ... through friendly consultations and negotiations."

"By contravening this obligation, the Philippines simply shut the door to the dialogue and went unilaterally to arbitration," said Papadopoulos.

He further pointed out the Philippines contravened the provisions of UNCLOS under which China made a declaration of excluding from compulsory dispute settlement, including arbitration, issues related to maritime delimitation, historic bays or titles, and military and law enforcement activities.

"In my view, China has rightly stated it will neither accept nor recognize the outcome of arbitration," Papadopoulos said.

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