Beijing argued the Philippines that bilateral negotiations and direct consultations are the best way to settle a territorial dispute and not through U.N. arbitrations. Being them (China) as a “good neighbor” and a long-standing “friend” of the Philippines and The Hague court has no jurisdiction on its sovereignty and cannot solve the problems.
A Chinese foreign ministry statement said that a ruling by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea on the jurisdiction and admissibility of the South China Sea dispute is null and void and has no binding effect on China. “Nothing has been canceled”, said the official.
But for the Philippine government, a court decision is the best way to resolve the problems using existing mechanism stated under international law and that is through U.N. arbitration, the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. (UNCLOS)
In the court decision stated: “Conscious that the Convention is not concerned with territorial disputes, the Philippines has stated at all stages of this arbitration that it is not asking this Tribunal to rule on the territorial sovereignty aspect of its disputes with China”.
It claims that part of the maritime territory being claimed by China sits within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile (370 kilometers) exclusive economic zone.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Manila Zhang Hua said, “A resort to arbitration does not meet people’s expectations for friendship in both China and the Philippines,”
Zhang also explained why China rejected the pleading filed by the Philippines with an arbitral tribunal against the country’s claim on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“For the Chinese people, to avoid a lawsuit is part of the Chinese culture and tradition. And the Philippine people also value friendship and good faith. We see every reason for both sides to sit down and resolve problems through negotiations instead of taking the issue to court,” he said.
Zhang said, “China is committed to resolving its disputes with the Philippines through bilateral negotiations. China and the Philippines have between them territorial and maritime disputes. And it is just natural that disputes might exist between neighbors. What is important is how to resolve the disputes.” – Carl E.
Images credited to Reuters, thediplomat.com, and fmprc.gov.cn