习近平出席中阿合作论坛第十届部长级会议开幕式并发表主旨讲话
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China neither accepts nor recognizes so-called award on South China Sea arbitration: spokesperson

Source: Xinhua | 2023-07-13
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China neither accepts nor recognizes so-called award on South China Sea arbitration: spokesperson

BEIJING, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Wednesday said the so-called award on the South China Sea arbitration seriously violates international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is illegal, null and void. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.

According to media reports, on July 12, Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo issued a statement on the seventh anniversary of the so-called award on the South China Sea arbitration, saying that the award is now part of international law, and the Philippines welcomes the growing number of partners that have expressed support for the award.

On the same day, the spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State said that the so-called award on the South China Sea arbitration rejected China's expansive South China Sea maritime claims. He added that this ruling is final and legally binding on the Philippines and China and asked China to halt illegal maritime activities.

"China's position on the so-called South China Sea arbitration and the award is consistent, clear and firm," spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing when answering relevant queries, adding that China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on this on July 12, 2016.

The Arbitral Tribunal violated the principle of state consent, exercised its jurisdiction ultra vires and rendered an award in disregard of the law. This is a grave violation of UNCLOS and general international law, Wang said.

"The award is illegal, null and void. China does not accept or recognize it, and will never accept any claim or action based on the award," said Wang.

He added that China's sovereignty and rights and interests in the South China Sea were established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and the law. This shall under no circumstances be affected by illegal awards.

"The illegal award of the so-called South China Sea arbitration has been questioned widely by the international community," Wang said, adding that many internationally authoritative law experts and scholars, including former president of the International Court of Justice and former judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, have written articles to point out the serious flaws in the award. Visionary people in the Philippines have publicly noted that the award is illegal and wrong.

China's position of not accepting or recognizing the award has won the support and understanding of more than 100 countries, Wang said.

Wang added that China and ASEAN countries are fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in an effective way, and actively advancing consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

All parties have agreed to handle the South China Sea issue by following the dual-track approach, namely, maritime disputes should be handled properly by countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation and peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly safeguarded by China and ASEAN countries, he said.

"We urge relevant parties to continue working with China to properly handle and manage maritime differences through dialogue and consultation, and work with regional countries to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea," said Wang.

As for the United States, Wang said it is the mastermind behind the South China Sea arbitration and plays up the issue each year on the anniversary of the illegal award to exert pressure and force China into accepting the illegal award. China is firmly against this.

Wang said the U.S. side disregards the history and facts on the South China Sea issue, acts against the UN Charter, and misinterprets the international law of the sea, including UNCLOS. The United States has gone back on its public commitment of not taking a position on the sovereignty issues of the South China Sea.

"It has been stoking trouble and using the South China Sea issue to sow discord among regional countries. This is extremely irresponsible and ill-intentioned," he said.

"We urge the United States to respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, stop all words and actions that are not conducive to regional peace and stability, and refrain from being a troublemaker to peace and stability in the South China Sea," said Wang.

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