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Hague Tribunal ruling on South China Sea a “farce”: China
July 12, 2016, 12:42 pm

China, which claims about 2 million square km of the maritime territory, has always maintained that “the situation in the South China Sea is stable [Xinhua]

China, which claims about 2 million square km of the maritime territory, has always maintained that “the situation in the South China Sea is stable [Xinhua]

China has hit back after a Hague-based arbitration court ruled on Tuesday that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and that it has breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights with its actions.

China has called the arbitration a “farce”. The US, on the other hand, called the ruling an ‘important contribution’ to resolution of disputes.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reacted saying China will not accept any proposition or action based on the ruling issued on Tuesday by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government.

Xi said China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in South China Sea, under any circumstances, will not be affected by the award.

Xi made the remarks on Tuesday afternoon while meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in downtown Beijing.

“The award is null and void and has no binding force,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also repeated that China respected and upheld the freedom of navigation and overflight and that China was ready to keep resolving the disputes peacefully through talks with states directly concerned.

The Indian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying New Delhi has noted the Hague tribunal ruling.

“As a State Party to the UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans,” the Indian official statement said.

The US has not signed the UN treaty, the UNCLOS. Both China and India are signatories of the treaty.

Earlier this year, Indian, Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers had issued a joint statement also saying these disputes should be settled by “parties directly concerned”.

In a press release accompanying the 479-page award, the five-member Hague tribunal offered a summary of its decisions on Tuesday, which sweepingly sided with the claims filed by the administration of former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The arbitration is a “political farce” under the “pretext of law”, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

China and the United States have traded accusations of militarizing the South China Sea.

The United States has increased its patrols and exercises in the region.

China has undertaken large-scale land reclamation to create artificial islands and construction on disputed features.

Earlier last month, South Africa backed China against the US’ so-called freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, a patrol China has denounced as an illegal threat to peace.

“South Africa has noted with concern the recent trend in the global arena to politicise the situation pertaining to the South China Sea,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

Beijing’s BRICS ally Pretoria stressed on approaching a resolution only through parties “directly concerned”.

Over $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes through the sea annually.

Major unexploited oil and gas deposits are believed to lie under the seabed.

TBP and Agencies