World / South China Sea

Int'l experts criticize Hague arbitration tribunal over South China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-30 17:17

BEIJING - International experts criticized an arbitral tribunal with widely contested jurisdiction for its plan to issue an award on July 12 on the South China Sea case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines.

The government of outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III filed the arbitration against China in 2013, despite the agreement his country had reached with China on resolving their South China Sea disputes through bilateral negotiations.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings or recognize the verdict, since the tribunal in The Hague established at the unilateral request of the Philippines, has no jurisdiction over the case that in essence is related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday that the tribunal, "established on the basis of illegal conduct and claims of the Philippines," has no jurisdiction over the case and the relevant subject matter, and should not have heard the case or render any award.

China and the Philippines have agreed to settle disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiations; territorial issues are not subject to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and that as early as in 2006 China declared -- in line with UNCLOS -- to exclude disputes concerning maritime delimitation from mandatory dispute settlement procedures. And the Philippines failed to fulfill its obligation under UNCLOS to exchange views with China on means of dispute settlement.

Therefore, China's nonacceptance and nonparticipation stance is solidly founded in international law, and the tribunal has exceeded its jurisdiction at will and infringed on the right of a state party to UNCLOS to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will, Hong noted.

"With regard to territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes, China does not accept any means of third-party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China," he stressed.

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