MANILA, Philippines — The Latest on an international tribunal’s ruling on the case filed by the Philippines against China’s claims in the South China Sea (all times local):
A day after an international tribunal said China had no legal basis for its expansive claim to the South China Sea, Beijing issued a policy paper saying the islands in the South China Sea are “China’s inherent territory”.
In a policy paper released Wednesday, China’s government asserted its sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters and opposes other countries’ ”illegal claims and occupation.”
“It is the Philippines that has created and stirred up the trouble,” said Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, in introducing the paper.
The paper blamed the Philippines for violating an agreement with China to settle the disputes through bilateral negotiation and said Manila “distorted facts and concocted a pack of lies” to push forward the arbitral proceedings.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday that China’s reputation and ambitions of becoming a world leader would suffer if it ignored the South China Sea ruling.
Bishop called on all parties to respect the ruling, which she described as final and legally binding.
“To ignore it would be a serious international transgression,” Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “There would be strong reputational costs.”
Bishop said she expected to speak with her counterparts in China and the Philippines in coming days and expected the ruling to be discussed at the upcoming ASEAN and East Asia Summit meetings in mid-July.
She said Australian ships and aircraft would continue to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight rights but refused to comment on specific details.
China’s ambassador to the U.S. says an international tribunal ruling that rejected its expansive claims over the South China Sea will intensify conflict and could lead to confrontation.
Ambassador Cui Tiankai (sway tee-ehn k-eye) also accused the Hague-based tribunal of “professional incompetence” saying it was dealing with a sovereignty dispute, which is beyond its jurisdiction.
The case was brought by the Philippines, a U.S. ally.
Cui was speaking at a Washington think tank hours after the tribunal issued its ruling Monday.
U.S. officials say the ruling will narrow the geographical scope of territorial disputes in the South China Sea and could provide an impetus for fresh diplomacy among the claimant nations.
Cui said China always supports negotiations among the concerned parties, but the ruling will undermine the possibility of diplomacy.
A senior White House official for Asia policy is stressing the importance of upholding the “rules-based international order” in the South China Sea.
Daniel Kritenbrink said that history shows that a breakdown in order and predictability often leads to “tragic outcomes.”
Kritenbrink called for both parties to accept an international tribunal ruling Monday rejecting China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea. The case was brought by U.S. ally, the Philippines.
He said the U.S. is prepared to accept any outcome in the region’s territorial disputes reached peacefully and in accordance with international law.
But Kritenbrink said the U.S. won’t accept, “the emergence of a different set of rules in the South China Sea.” He said that the international legal order could unravel, threatening 70 years of regional stability.
Taiwan has slammed an arbitration panel’s ruling on the South China Sea.
The president’s office says Taiwan was not consulted on the case brought by the Philippines, even though it is a claimant in the Spratly Islands.
Most of the tribunal’s ruling involved China’s expansive claims, but the panel also agreed with Manila’s position that disputed Itu Aba, which Taiwan administers, is a rock and not an island. Islands are entitled to an exclusive economic zone and other rights not enjoyed by mere rocks.
The statement issued from the president’s office said the ruling “severely damaged our right to the island.” A government spokesman said Taiwan’s navy would send a frigate to patrol the area Wednesday.
U.S. lawmakers are welcoming the South China Sea tribunal ruling and calling for the U.S. Navy to challenge China’s excessive maritime claims.
Sen. Bob Corker, Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should defend freedom of navigation and overflight through patrols in the East and South China Seas.
Sen. Ben Cardin, the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, said the U.S. should “fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.”
Republican Sen. John McCain said the U.S. should make clear its interest in preventing land reclamation and militarization at strategic locations like the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan called for deeper U.S. engagement with China but also for clarification of U.S. treaty obligations with Manila.
He said, “The Philippines needs to know that we have their back.”
A Japanese coast guard vessel has arrived in Manila for a joint exercise, though the Philippine coast guard says it wasn’t timed to coincide with a tribunal’s ruling on Manila’s case against China’s claims in the South China Sea.
Commander Armand Balilo, the Philippine coast guard’s spokesman, said the Japanese vessel PHL02 Tsugaru docked at Manila’s South Harbor on Monday. Some 50 Japanese and 70 Filipino coast guard personnel will take part in Wednesday’s drills. Australia and the United States have sent observers.
The exercise aims to enhance understanding and capabilities to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea, to acquire knowledge and skills in airlift rescue operations. The activities will include ship boarding, search and seizure exercises.
The Philippine coast guard will also deploy its vessels and helicopters for the joint exercise.
The U.S. State Department called the tribunal’s ruling an important contribution to the shared goal of peacefully resolving South China Sea disputes.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said the ruling was binding on both parties and that the U.S. expected China and the Philippines both to comply with their obligations under the ruling.
In the statement the U.S. also urged all claimants in the South China Sea to avoid provocative statements or actions.
Chinese people expressed indignation at the tribunal’s ruling and reiterated various aspects of the government’s rejection of the arbitration panel.
Beijing resident Wang Zhilei said: “I feel the same as all the Chinese. I took the arbitration as nothing more than a piece of paper or nonsense.” State media reports in the days preceding the ruling had likened it to “a piece of waste paper.”
Another resident, Ding Chennan, said “I think China should take actions to tell other countries that we are not weak.”
One person cited former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong’s quote: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’”
“It’s true,” Kang Chao said. “International law is made by some states, which means it doesn’t benefit all the states. It definitely hurts some states.” He urged China to use military action to defend itself.
Vietnam welcomed a tribunal ruling rejecting China’s vast claims in the South China Sea, saying it strongly supports the settlement of such disputes through diplomatic and legal processes.
The ruling issued in The Hague on Tuesday involved a case brought by the Philippines, but China’s claims also overlap with Vietnam’s.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh also reiterated Vietnam’s sovereignty in the disputed Paracel and Spratly island chains.
Earlier in the day, Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracels on Saturday. The five fishermen were rescued by a trawler some seven hours later.
A professor of the Asian political economy says the international arbitration ruling rejecting China’s claims to large swaths of the South China Sea could be a “transformative moment” in the region.
Speaking outside the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s base at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Leiden University professor of political economy in Asia, Jonathan London, tells The Associated Press that the decision will “give countries with a common interest in international norms something to point to and to rally around.”
London says that the ruling will let such nations say to China: “Look, here are the results of an international organization that has found that your claims have zero historical basis.”
Dozens of Filipinos rallying in Manila jumped in joy, wept and waved Philippine flags after news that an international tribunal had sided with the Philippines against China’s sea claims.
One person held up a poster that said: “Philippine sovereignty, non-negotiable.”
Aside from striking down China’s sweeping territorial claims, the tribunal also “found that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, constructing artificial islands and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.”
The Chinese government swiftly rejected an international tribunal’s ruling that China’s claim of much of the South China Sea has no legal basis, saying Beijing does not accept the jurisdiction of the panel.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said that China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.”
“China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” the statement said.
The ministry repeated China’s often-expressed stance that the Philippines’ move to initiate arbitration without China’s consent was in “bad faith” and in violation of international law.
Japan urged China and the Philippines to abide by an international tribunal ruling that found no legal basis for Beijing’s South China Sea claims.
Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday that the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision is “final and legally binding” and that the two sides should comply with it.
Kishida said in a statement that “Japan strongly expects that the parties’ compliance with this award will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.”
Japan has its own territorial disputes with China over a set of islands in the East China Sea, and has raised concerns over Beijing’s military assertiveness in the regional waters.
He said Japan supports the rule of law and the use of peaceful means, not the use of force or coercion, in seeking settlement of maritime disputes.
An international tribunal has criticized China for building a large artificial island on Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, saying it caused “permanent irreparable harm” to the coral reef ecosystem and permanently destroyed evidence of the natural conditions of the feature.
In a ruling Tuesday on a variety of issues concerning a dispute between China and the Philippines, the tribunal concluded that China had violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating the dispute while the settlement process was still going on.
The Hague-based tribunal also found that China had interfered with Philippine petroleum exploration at Reed Bank, tried to stop fishing by Philippine vessels within the country’s exclusive economic zone, and failed to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines’ EEZ at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.
The Philippine government welcomed a ruling that rejects China’s ‘nine-dash line’ claiming much of the South China Sea.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in Manila the “milestone decision” was an important contribution to efforts in addressing disputes in the sea.
He said: “The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts of pursuing the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with the view of promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region.”
An international tribunal has found that there is no legal basis for China’s “nine-dash line” claiming rights to much of the South China Sea.
The tribunal issued its ruling Tuesday in The Hague in response to an arbitration case brought by the Philippines against China.
The panel said that any historic rights to resources that China may have had were wiped out if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under a U.N. treaty.
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