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South China Sea tribunal ruling "politicized": Syrian analysts

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-13-2016 08:12 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

DAMASCUS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague against China's right in the South China Sea territories is "politicized," analysts here said on Tuesday.

"The decision taken by the tribunal in the Hague is politicized and has deliberately overlooked the historic facts about China's sovereign right over the South China Sea territory," Omar al-Mekdad, a Syrian expert in the Chinese affairs, told Xinhua.

Earlier in the day, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea, ruling in favor of the Philippines in that maritime dispute.

China rejected the ruling, branding it as null, void and a farce.

Al-Mekdad said the tribunal decision was taken under pressure from the United States on the judges, noting that the pretexts on which the decision was made were "flimsy."

"We all know that the Chinese culture has been prominent in the South China Sea over the period of 6,000 years," he said.

He added that the South China Sea overlooks six countries, among which the United States is trying to foment tension.

"The main goal for Washington is to have a foothold in that sea, which is a hub for a huge global trade," he said.

The crisis in the South China Sea is an old one, but Washington tries to create tension spots in that region to destabilize it.

"The decision that was taken today is politicized and China has all right to undertake whatever it sees proper to respond to this outrageous decision," he concluded.

For his part, Sharif Shehadeh, a former Syrian parliamentarian, said the decision reflects Washington's scheme against Beijing.

"What was decided today is a void and null decision for a simple reason, which is that China overlooks this sea and has full control over it, which means that the tribunal decision is an American one, a politicized move disconnected from geographical reality," he said.

Shehadeh reiterated his conviction that "something is being plotted against China," particularly as the U.S. Navy has been sending ships to the South China Sea recently.

China has recently stressed that the only way out of the dispute is through bilateral talks and friendly dialogue, warning the Philippines that it does not accept or recognize any decision by the tribunal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the decision on Tuesday, saying that "China will never accept any claim or action based on those awards."

He said the South China Sea islands have been China's territory since ancient times. China's territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in South China Sea, in any circumstances, will not be affected by the award.

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