World / Asia-Pacific

South China Sea arbitration to set 'serious, wrong and bad example': Chinese ambassador

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-09 13:55

LONDON - The South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines will set a "serious, wrong, and bad example" if it is allowed to go through, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Liu said China will not participate in the arbitration and China believes it is illegal for a tribunal to handle this case.

"The Philippines' arbitration case is against UNCLOS (the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), because sovereignty and territorial disputes are not under the jurisdiction of UNCLOS," Liu stressed.

Liu noted that China, like 30 other countries, made a declaration in 2006 that it will not take part in third party arbitration when it comes to maritime delimitation.

"UK is one of the 30 countries. UNCLOS provides that sovereign countries have their sovereign right to make these declarations on optional exceptions," he explained.

China has always called for bilateral consultation and negotiations with neighboring countries, including the Philippines, when it comes to maritime disputes, the Chinese envoy said.

There had been a series of statements between China and the Philippines on how to resolve disputes before 2013 when the Philippines submitted its arbitration case.

"In our view, the Philippines have turned their back on their promise and that is against international practice. Once agreed, you have to follow your commitment," he said in the interview.

According to UNCLOS, Liu said, arbitration is only a supplementary means to resolve disputes, and bilateral channels are regarded as the main means to resolve a dispute between countries.

"The Philippines had never come to China to talk about this arbitration. And China and the Philippines had never had serious negotiations on this subject back then," he elaborated.

UNCLOS provides that a compulsory arbitration will not be resorted to settle a dispute between countries unless all bilateral channels are exhausted.

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