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Hague tribunal has no jurisdiction in S.China Sea dispute: China
December 7, 2014, 5:14 am

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations lay contesting claims to these waters [Xinhua]

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations lay contesting claims to these waters [Xinhua]

China has reiterated its position of not participating in the South China Sea arbitration process initiated by Philippines at a Hague-based Tribunal in a position paper published by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

China, which claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, has said the “Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the arbitration”.

“The subject-matter of the Philippines’ claims is in essence an issue of territorial sovereignty, which, however, goes beyond the scope of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“Convention”)…China has already excluded, through a declaration made in 2006 pursuant to Article 298 of the Convention, disputes concerning maritime delimitation, inter alia, from the application of arbitration and other compulsory procedures,” said Xu Hong, chief of ministry’s Legal and Treaties Department of the foreign ministry.

Philippine had file a complaint with the Arbitral Tribunal questioning the validity of China’s “nine-dash” territorial claim, a demarcation on official Chinese maps that envelops virtually the entire South China Sea.

The Arbitral Tribunal operates under the intergovernmental Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

According to official Chinese data, the South China Sea covers 3.55 million square km.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations lay contesting claims to these waters.

China exercises jurisdiction over about 2 million square km of the maritime territory.

China on Sunday slammed attempts by “outsiders” to brand Beijing as a law-breaker.

“Some people, who do not know the truth, have questioned China’s position of not accepting or participating in the arbitration. Some others, who harbor ulterior motives, have made one-sided and misleading readings of international rules and, on that basis, made accusations or insinuations that China does not abide by international law, and perversely branded China as a “challenger” to international rules,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

The tribunal had given China until 15 December to send its reply to the case.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday said the “Position Paper of the Chinese Government is neither a counter-memorial on the arbitration nor a response to the request of the Arbitral Tribunal”.

China had earlier this year rejected a Philippine proposal to suspend all development activity that Manila says escalates tensions between countries claiming the disputed maritime territory.

China said it is willing to listen to suggestions from its maritime neighbors but did not want to impede development in the South China Sea.

The Chinese government had announced in January new rules requiring foreign fishing vessels to seek Beijing’s permission to operate in some parts of the South China Sea.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson clarified that the rules are “routine for an ocean state” amid uproar from both Vietnam and the Philippines and increasing intervention from Washington.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at the time South China Sea fishing rules are “provocative and potentially dangerous”.

China has also cast aspersions on US moves to “provoke” tension by supporting its regional allies, Vietnam and the Philippines. Earlier in October, Washington partially lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move intended to bolster Hanoi’s confidence in its dealings with China.



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