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China calls arbitral court 'mouthpiece' for certain groups


07-05-2016 06:26 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

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China on Monday slammed remarks by the Philippines' chief lawyer on the international arbitration of the South China Sea disputes, saying his comments prove the court is "only a mouthpiece for certain groups."

An international ruling this month is expected to deprive China of any legal basis for its claim to most of the South China Sea, the Philippines' chief lawyer in the case, Paul Reichler, told Reuters last week.

"It is no surprise for Mr. Reichler to know the Philippines' thinking, as its attorney, but it is strange that he seems to know what the ruling will be even before there is one," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said when asked to comment on the lawyer's remarks.

"Reichler's comments prove the court is only a mouthpiece for certain groups. His words show the case filed by the Philippines has to do with sovereignty over islands and reefs as well as maritime demarcation," Hong said.

His remarks prove that former Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III has been telling lies for years, Hong said.

The arbitral tribunal established at the request of the Philippines has no jurisdiction over the case, and the upcoming ruling will result from abuse of the law and is therefore invalid, the spokesperson said.

China's territorial sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea, backed on a historical and legal basis, are immune to the illegal ruling, Hong said.

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