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The South China Sea Arbitration is a Farce

Editor: Li Shouen 丨CCTV.com

07-13-2016 18:44 BJT

By Ling Dequan, researcher with Center for World Affairs Studies, Xinhua News Agency

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision Tuesday by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal.

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

He made the remarks on Tuesday afternoon while meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Beijing.

Xi said, China has always been a guardian of international rule of law and of fairness and justice, and will always adhere to the path of peaceful development.

He said,China is firmly committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea, and to settling the disputes with countries directly involved, through peaceful negotiations based on the recognition of historical facts and in accordance with international law, he said.

On July 12, a temporary tribunal organized in The Hague issued its so-called “final verdict” on the South China Sea arbitration brought unilaterally by the Philippine Aquino administration. This is a political farce directed by extraterritorial forces with exquisite legal costumes.

Yet, the verdict is nothing but a piece of paper full of ridiculous misinformation. As the panel has no jurisdiction, its decision is naturally null and void and is looked down upon by the Chinese government and people.

Soon after the tribunal published its award, the Chinese Foreign Ministry made a statement to clarify China’s attitude of non-acceptance and non-recognition of the decision. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry was also authorized to issue the Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on China’s Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea, which solemnly reaffirmed China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea Arbitration has been a complete political farce staged in a black box. In this particular case, the tribunal’s foundation lacks validity and jurisdiction. The verdict clearly symbolizes an abuse of power, and therefore it does not have any legal backing. 

The Aquino government unilaterally brought up the so-called arbitration without the approval of the other party involved. This is a betrayal of not only the agreement of solving disputes through bilateral negotiation, but also the promise made in the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.

Its purpose is clear, which is not to solve disputes properly between China and the Philippines but rather aimed at infringing upon Chinese territory and maritime interests, and destroying the regional peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The arbitration unilaterally brought by the Philippines is blatant treachery. The procedure and legal application of the arbitral case is also far-fetched and full of loopholes that avoids the evidence and facts.

Therefore, neither the Chinese people will accept this award, nor the people upholding justice in the international community will recognize this decision. 

International law authorizes all countries to independently choose the way to solve disputes. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that member states have the right to exclude mandatory jurisdiction procedures. And the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea signed by China and the ten ASEAN countries also regulates that specific disputes should be solved through communication and negotiation by the countries that are directly involved. 

China’s stance of non-acceptance and non-participation of the arbitration is legally justified.

The so-called verdict by the arbitral tribunal violated China’s legal rights and challenges a primary principle of international law, which  respects sovereignty and territorial integrity. This damages the solemnity and integrity of the legal system of the international law of the sea and does harm to the regional regulations based on- the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.China’s sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea have been formed throughout a long history and are historic rights maintained by all previous Chinese governments. These historical and legal facts will not be influenced by the award of a so-called tribunal.

Any attempt to damage or deny China’s territorial integrity and maritime interests will be in vain.

China will not accept any mandatory settlement plan or any third-party settlement on issues regarding territorial sovereignty and maritime interests that are not approved by China.

We couldn’t help asking: Is the interim tribunal, consisting of five people and full of controversy and injustice, eligible to represent and execute international law in a just and fair manner? Of course not.

So far, there’ve been 90 countries in the world voicing doubt and objection towards the so-called arbitration and voicing their  support for China’s stance on the South China Sea.

As a Chinese saying goes, “regardless of how the wind and wave hits, keep it a walk in the park.” China will continue to settle disputes peacefully through negotiations in an effort to safeguard regional peace and stability.

As a constructor of international order and a defender of regional peace, China supports direct negotiations with the relevant entities to solve conflicts according to international law. China is committed to safeguarding free navigation and overflight authorized to each country, while effectively carrying out the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea. China hopes to accelerate the negotiation process of “The Code of Conduct in the South China Sea” under this framework.

The arbitral case and related malicious hype and political manipulation are geared towards disturbing people’s vision to make the issue of the South China Sea more complicated and to damage the regional peace and stability. These efforts harm the interest of not only China and the Philippines but also of other countries in the international community.

It’s time that the farce comes to an end and the countries involved  go back on the right track to solve the South China Sea dispute.

The newly formed Philippine government has made a series of statements including voicing its willingness to negotiate talks with China about the South China Sea dispute.

China is pleased to see the new Philippine government taking sincere action to improve China-Philippines relations. China hopes that both countries can work together to properly control differences so as to promote healthy bilateral ties.

Making good neighborly and friendly relations with surrounding countries is an established policy adopted by China. And China takes its role seriously in safeguarding regional peace and stability. It is a steadfast and strategic choice for China to develop peacefully.

As always, China acknowledges the tenets of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations. As a responsible big nation, China will, as always, make its contributions to safeguarding the fairness and justice of the international rule of law while promoting the cause of peace and development for all humanity.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



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