Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Albert F. Del Rosario (center) addressing the Arbitral Tribunal. China’s table (right) is empty as they have declined to participate in the proceedings. PHOTO FROM THE PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION

Today, China has brushed aside the UN tribunal arbitrating on the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) saying that it will not accept its verdict as an official said that United States sending warships and aircraft such as B-52 bomber to challenge China, will lead to further militarization of the islands.

“China’s territorial sovereignty should be decided by all the Chinese people, and no other people or organisation has the right to handle it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters.

He said that Beijing’s position on the South China Sea stands on a solid international legal base and will not change.

Hong Lei said that the Philippines ignored facts, international law and justice, and tries to deny China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands.

The Arbitral Tribunal under the UNCLOS established at the request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over the case, Hong said.

China will not accept any third-party settlements of territorial disputes, he said advising the Philippines to return to the track of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Chinese state-run Global Times said the United States actions of sending B-52 bombers and warships into the South China Sea would only prompt militarization of the artificial islands claimed by China.

“The moves of the US will undoubtedly propel China to accelerate militarizing its newly built islands and make them capable of coping with direct military threat from the US.

“As the Chinese mainland is far from this area and China only has one aircraft carrier, it would be too late for China to send fighter jets from the mainland when US jets intrude into the airspace of the islands. The only choice is to deploy the fighter jets on these islands,” it said.

“China has stressed that these islands serve a peaceful purpose, but the premise of such assertion is that no external military force threatens their security. The US military is undermining this premise, and China should carry out corresponding security deployment,” it said.

“Nowadays US warplanes and bombers fly over nearby waters and airspace at will. If China does not take due measures, it can be implied that it tacitly approves such hostile actions. This in turn will jeopardize the country’s South China Sea strategy.

“China therefore has no other options, but to build up its military capability on those islands. In that case, next time when the US warplanes come over again, there will be Chinese military planes taking off and safeguarding our sovereignty.

China is in advanced stages of construction on its 3,000 meter airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef. Image source: AMTI

“If all parties wish for a peaceful SCS, they should fulfill their responsibilities rather than providing assistance to the US which intends to intrude China’s island de-militarization. The US’ exercise of freedom of navigation in the SCS should not threaten the security of Chinese facilities. In view of China’s overall military capability and national strength, the US should renounce its arrogance,” it said. -John Esconde

Image credits: AMTI/CSIS