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China reiterates to resolve territorial disputes via bilateral negotiations


09:07, April 27, 2013

BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- China will adhere to the means of bilateral negotiations to resolve territorial and maritime delimitation disputes, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

"In the interests of maintaining the Sino-Philippine relations and the peace and stability in the South China Sea, China has been persistent in pursuing bilateral negotiations and consultations with the Philippines to resolve relevant disputes," Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in response to a question on the Philippines' efforts in pushing for the establishment of the Arbitral Tribunal in Relation to the Disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

It is a commitment undertaken by all signatories, the Philippines included, under the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) that disputes relating to territorial and maritime rights and interests be resolved through negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned therewith, she said, adding that the DOC should be implemented in a comprehensive and serious manner.

"China will adhere to the means of bilateral negotiations to resolve territorial and maritime delimitation disputes both in accordance with applicable rules of international law and in compliance with the spirit of the DOC," Hua said.

Media reports say that an arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines has been composed recently at the request of the Philippines.

"On Jan. 22, 2013, the Philippines sent China a note verbale, attached with a notification, to initiate arbitration proceedings against China regarding issues of the South China Sea," said the spokeswoman.

Hua said that on Feb. 19, China stated its rejection of the request for arbitration by the Philippines and returned the latter's note verbale and the attached notification. "The position of China, as indicated above, will not change."

Since the 1970s, the Philippines, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and principles of international law, illegally occupied some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands, including Mahuan Dao, Feixin Dao, Zhongye Dao, Nanyao Dao, Beizi Dao, Xiyue Dao, Shuanghuang Shazhou and Siling Jiao, according to Hua.

"Firmly and consistently opposed to the illegal occupation by the Philippines, China hereby solemnly reiterates its demand that the Philippines withdraw all its nationals and facilities from China's islands and reefs," she said.

The Philippines professed in the notification of Jan. 22, 2013 that it "does not seek...a determination of which party enjoys sovereignty over the islands claimed by both of them."

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