Posts Tagged ‘China says ties with Philippines ‘sinking to historic low’’

China Bristles Over Multiple Tests in South China Sea

October 31, 2015

China says ties with Philippines ‘sinking to historic low’ after tribunal accepts case and U.S. sails by disputed isles

Subi reef, located in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, is shown in this handout Center for Strategic and International Studies Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken in 2012, and released to Reuters this week. A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed close to it this week. 
Subi reef, located in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, is shown in this handout Center for Strategic and International Studies Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative satellite image taken in 2012, and released to Reuters this week. A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed close to it this week. Photo: REUTERS/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters

MANILA—Beijing on Friday dismissed the twin-pronged challenge it faces to its territorial claims in the South China Sea posed by the U.S. military on the water and a Philippine legal team at a United Nations-backed tribunal.

The tribunal ruled on Thursday it has jurisdiction to hear a complaint from the Philippines against China’s sweeping territorial claims in the sea. That came two days after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed close to Chinese-built islets there to assert freedom of navigation in the region.

After criticizing the U.S. patrol earlier in the week for taking a “reckless action,” China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said the tribunal’s ruling “is null and void, and has no binding effect on China.”

“With regard to the issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China will not accept any solution imposed on it or any unilateral resort to a third-party dispute settlement,” the ministry said.

The latest confrontations over the South China Sea come before a flurry of diplomatic activity in Asia where the issue is sure to arise, starting with a trilateral summit between China, Japan and South Korea this weekend in Seoul. Chinese President Xi Jinping due to visit Vietnam next week. And world leaders will gather for the annual APEC summit in Manila in mid-November.

China’s strategy will now be to stress the civilian uses of its newly-built islands and play down their military implications, Mr. Choong said, while deflecting negative publicity by charming its regional neighbors with initiatives like the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Meanwhile, a strategic stalemate will prevail in the South China Sea, he predicted, with the U.S. conducting more patrols around China’s islands, and China shadowing them with its own warships while denouncing the American operations. “The U.S. and China will both be able to say they’re holding fast to their positions without losing face,” Mr. Choong said.

Manila filed its case with the arbitrator, which operates under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, during a period of growing Chinese activity in the area, which have included confrontations at several reefs and rocks in the area.

The waters are home to some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and potentially harbor rich oil and gas reserves, in addition to valuable fish stocks.

U.S. lawyer Paul Reichler is leading the case for the Philippines after taking on a series of other cases on behalf of other smaller nations going up against larger counterparts. He has argued that China’s so-called nine-dash-line, which indicates Beijing’s claim to nearly all the South China Sea, doesn’t stand up under international law as defined in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A senior U.S. defense official said the ruling “shows that judging issues like this on the basis of international law and international practice are a viable way of at a minimum managing territorial conflicts, if not resolving them.”

Advertisements