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International law dishonored by illegal award on South China Sea arbitration: Chinese diplomat

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-13-2016 07:40 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

 THE HAGUE, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The ruling on the South China Sea arbitration issued by a court in The Hague is a disgrace to international law, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands Wu Ken told the press on Tuesday.

"Today is a 'black Tuesday' for The Hague, 'the capital of international law'," Wu commented.

"China is deeply dissatisfied and firmly rejects this ruling which dishonors international law and damages regional stability," he said.

On Tuesday, the tribunal set up at the request of the former Philippine administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III sweepingly sided with the Philippines' claims.

Wu said the new Philippine government should understand what damages its predecessor has done to bilateral relations and the interests of the Philippines itself.

"They should abandon the delusion of having the issue resolved through the intervention of external forces, clean up the negativity left by the illegal arbitration, and return to the bilateral and regional consensus of settling disputes through negotiations," he said.

The ambassador also called on "certain countries who do not belong to this region" to give up the thought of containing China by using the dispute as a pretext.

"They should stop sabre rattling and fabricating disputes and leave room for a calm negotiation table in our region," said the Chinese diplomat.

Wu reiterated that the ad hoc arbitral tribunal delivered a null and void award on issues linked to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, which exceed the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The arbitration handled a case outside its jurisdiction and is "a legal monstrosity," said Wu.

"Just like a roll of wastepaper, the ruling has no legal meaning for the settlement of disputes in the South China Sea. What's worse, it severely undermined the integrity and dignity of the UNCLOS," he added.

On the tribunal's ruling on the nine-dash line outlining Chinese territory in the South China Sea, Wu explained that historical rights are not governed by the convention and China's dotted line came into being dozens of years before the creation of UNCLOS. "But the tribunal erroneously applied the Convention to draw unfounded conclusions on China's historical rights and the dotted line."

China's historical rights within the dotted line in the SCS will not under any circumstances be affected by this ruling, he stressed.

Wu also told the press that an increasing number of non-Chinese scholars noted that this arbitration case violated the principle of state consent, which is detrimental to the international rule of law. More and more states have voiced their opposition to ultra vires jurisdiction in favor of settling disputes through negotiation and consultation.

"However, certain countries obsessed with a Cold War mentality still attempt to use the South China Sea issue as a pawn to contain China and to boost their own military presence in the Asia-Pacific region," said Wu.

"A piece of cloud can not cover up the sun. This political farce can by no means deny the sound historical facts and legal evidence supporting China's sovereignty over islands in the Sea," he added.

Wu reiterated that negotiation and consultation are the primary means to settle disputes under the United Nations Charter and UNCLOS, and remain the most effective method under international law.

"China has both the legal basis and the ability to recover islands and reefs illegally occupied by other countries. Nevertheless, in a bid to safeguard peace and stability in the region, we have always sought for a peaceful settlement of disputes and upheld maritime cooperation with maximum restraint," Wu said.

The ambassador reiterated that the arbitration farce will not weaken China's determination to defend its national interests. "It will not change China's foreign policy for a friendly neighborhood," he said, "or China's patience and sincerity in peacefully resolving disputes through direct negotiations."

by Xinhua Writers Gan Chuan, Shuai Rong

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