Beijing, July 12: Rejecting the International Tribunal’ verdict favouring Philippines in dispute on South China Sea, the China on Tuesday rejected the decision calling it null and void. “With regard to the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it”, a statement from Chinese foreign ministry said.
The international court of Arbitration gave its decision on the issue on Tuesday. In a press release accompanying the 479-page award, tribunal offered a summary of its decisions, which sweepingly side with the claims filed by the administration of former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III. The declaration in a statement followed a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that China has no historic rights to its claimed ‘nine-dash line’.
The tribunal further said in its verdict that China had violated the Philippines' sovereign rights. China had caused severe harm to the coral reef environment by building artificial islands. Fishermen from the Philippines and China both had fishing rights around the disputed Scarborough Shoal area, and China had interfered by restricting access. Transient use of features above water did not constitute inhabitation - one of the key conditions for claiming land rights of 200 nautical miles, rather than the 12 miles granted for rocks visible at high tide.
The Chinese government claimed that China is the first to discover and name the South China Sea islands. They were also first to explore and exploit its islands and exercise continous sovereignty and jurisdiction over it and relevant waters. “China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards”, added the statement of foreign ministry.
The ruling relates to a complaint issued in 2013 by the Philippines, which, along with China, claims both the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. On 22 January 2013, the former government of Philippines unilaterally initiated arbitration on the relevant disputes in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines. On 19 February 2013, the Chinese government solemnly declared that it neither accepts nor participates in that arbitration and has since repeatedly reiterated that position.
On 7 December 2014, the Chinese government released the Position Paper of the Government on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by Philippines, pointing out that the Philippines' initiation of arbitration breaches the agreement between the two states, violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and goes against the general practice of international arbitration, and that the Arbitral Tribunal has no jurisdiction.
On 29 October 2015, the Arbitral Tribunal rendered an award on jurisdiction and admissibility. The Chinese government immediately stated that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China's positions are clear and consistent.
China also claimed that the administration of the former government of Philippines lied in its arbitration case.
China also pointed out that more than 60 countries and international organizations, as well as over 130 foreign political parties and groups, have voiced support for China's principled position, far outnumbering those backing the assertions of the Aquino administration and the United States, which is widely considered as a primary instigator behind the arbitration case. China also kicked off a week of military drills around the Paracel Islands just one week before the verdict of International Court of Arbitration showing its sovereignty over the islands.