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Western countries should stop playing international law as political card: People's Daily

(People's Daily Online)    09:18, July 10, 2016

Although Western countries always label themselves as defenders of international law, historic facts prove that such words are just a disguise for their "double standards," the People's Daily said in an editorial published on Friday.

The article, published under the pen name "Zhong Sheng," a homonym in Chinese for "voice of China" that is often used to express the paper's views on foreign policy.

The full text of the article reads as follows:

Britain on Wednesday published the long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq War, reviewing the decision process, preparation work and post-war plans for the war.

What's worth mentioning is that the 2.6 million-word inquiry into Britain's role in the invasion and occupation of Iraq did not give a conclusion on the legitimacy of the war. But the seven-year inquiry does offer glimpse into current international relations.

American and British strategists began to reflect on the Iraq War years ago, but their emphasis was mainly on detailed tactics rather than the nature or the root cause of the war. Some of those analysts even regretted that "the war wasted the good cards left by the Cold War to the US."

But the international community concluded years ago that it was an illegal war started by unilateral military actions to overthrow the regime of a sovereign country without the authority of the UN.

Citing the theory of the Iraq War as overriding international laws and undermining international bodies, the Guardian, in its editorial written after the report was issued, commented that such a theory deserves no epitaph and should have died in the deserts and cities of Iraq.

Although Western countries always label themselves as defenders of international law, historic facts prove that such words are just a disguise for their "double standards."

A trick frequently played by them is to use the law to serve their interests by obscuring "illegal actions" with "legitimate ones."

Such instances abound, and the Ukraine crisis starting from the end of 2013 is one of them. During the crisis, which was indeed a strategic battle between Western countries and Russia, the West counties used international law as a sword to attack Russia.

However, when doing so, they never bore the historic facts and justice in mind. Russian President Vladimir Putin once ridiculed their unreasonable standards by saying that "it's a good thing that they at least remember that there exists such a thing as international law - better late than never."

The South China Sea arbitration unilaterally filed by the Philippines serves as another example of the abuse of international law by Western countries including the US. By replaying the trick, they, with trumped-up charges, aimed to label China as the country that has been violating the law.

However, the nature of this political farce is obvious. The disputes between the Philippines and China are actually about territorial and maritime delimitation, but the two countries agreed to solve them through negotiation and consultation years ago.

What's more, territorial issues do not fall within the adjustment scope of the United Nations Convention of the Law of Sea (UNCLOS). Also, as early as 2006, China excluded compulsory settlement procedures from maritime delimitation disputes in accordance with Article 298 of UNCLOS.

From the very beginning, China has affirmed its position of non-participation, non-acceptance and non-admission of the arbitration. This stance, which completely conforms with the international laws including UNCLOS, also helps safeguard the integrity and authority of the convention.

On the contrary, it is the Philippines which has breached international law as its unilateral application of the arbitration goes against the estoppel principle. The Arbitration Tribunal is also a violator because it overstepped and abused its rights.

The US, who always labels itself as the "global police," actually has selfish calculations by deliberately ignoring the logical basis of the arbitration case. The case, from the very beginning, is a trap set by the US to maintain its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

One of its real purposes is to alienate China and its neighbors by defaming China in the name of international law.

The US has not joined UNCLOS yet even after decades of study. As a country with no respect for international law, it has no right to point fingers at other countries.

Back in 1986, the US refused to implement decisions rendered by the court in Nicaragua vs US, which fully exposes its hypocrisy. That is to say, the US will only show its strong support for international law once it can benefit from the law. Otherwise, no matter how legitimate the law is, the US will trample on it.

The Iraq War 13 years ago and the South China Sea arbitration today all indicate the vague and double standards adopted by Western countries for the sake of maximum self-interest. They disrupt regional orders and hurt people's interests under the cloak of international law.

On the contrary, China is doing the responsible thing to safeguard the international rule of law by sticking to the principles and fighting with reason in the South China Sea arbitration case.


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

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