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South China Sea arbitration nothing more than a political farce: People’s Daily

(People's Daily Online)    11:38, July 01, 2016

Given the lack of legal validity of the arbitral tribunal of the South China Sea case, China does not accept any propositions or actions based on the arbitration, instead, stands ready to safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea through firm and strong actions, read a People’s Daily commentary on Thursday.

The following is the full translation of the article:

The South China Sea arbitral tribunal, which was established under the unilateral request of the Philippines, announced on Wednesday that it will deliver the so-called “final verdict” on July 12.

Such propaganda for an arbitral tribunal with no legal validity not only exposes its treacherous intention of willingly being a political tool for certain nations, but shows the embarrassment and panic of this temporary set-up when trampling on the international rule of law.

Since the beginning, the tribunal has been sabotaging international order under the banner of international law. The nature of the Philippines’ appeal is territorial and maritime delimitation issues. China and the Philippines have already chosen negotiation and consultation as the only approach to settling these disputes.

Territorial issues do not fall within the scope of the United Nations Convention of the Law of Sea (UNCLOS). Additionally, as early as 2006, China has excluded compulsory settlement procedures from maritime delimitation disputes in accordance with Article 298 of the UNCLOS.

However, the tribunal blatantly disregarded these and violated the protocol stipulated in the UNCLOS for initiating compulsory settlement procedures. Its flagrant expansion, overstepping and illegal execution of jurisdiction is just trying to turn the illegitimate ruling into an “established fact.”

One would naturally look guilty when doing the wrong thing. In order to cover up its unlawfulness, the tribunal expects some nations to hype up its authority. But this type of action will only make the tribunal’s faults more conspicuous. No one can twist right and wrong. The fairness and justice of the international rule of law won’t tolerate the defamation of even a small group of people.

At present, the voice calling for objectivity and fairness on the international stage is getting louder. More countries and international organizations have expressed their dissatisfaction over the tribunal’s distorting of facts and manipulating the law through various channels. Even though the tribunal places high hopes on certain Western countries, many objective and neutral international law experts there have criticized and challenged the case.

As a staunch practitioner of the international rule of law and supporter of international and regional rules, China will not change its firm stance of non-participation in and non-acceptance of the verdict, which has been expressed by the Chinese government for several times since the Philippines unilaterally filed for the case on January 22, 2013.

A series of documents, including “Position Paper of the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines” released on December 7, 2014, “Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on the Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility of the South China Sea Arbitration by the Arbitral Tribunal Established at the Request of the Republic of the Philippines” published on October 30, 2015 and “Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on Settling Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea Through Bilateral Negotiation” issued on June 8, 2016, all emphasized China’s position of adhering to settling relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, non-participation and non-acceptance of the arbitration and not acknowledging the verdict.

The Chinese government also responded to the information released by the arbitral tribunal. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson reiterated China’s solemn stance on the verdict of the tribunal.

China’s determination to safeguard territory sovereignty and maritime interests is steadfast. Any attempt to encroach on China’s sovereignty and maritime rights through unlawful arbitration will be in vain.

China stands ready to protect its territory sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea through firm and strong action. This is not only an inevitable choice based on China’s will and ability, but a responsibility of China to safeguard regional peace, stability and the current international order. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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