Chinese embassy expresses stand on territorial dispute

Published July 13, 2020, 11:37 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The award issued by the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in July, 2016 favoring the Philippine petition on the South China Sea against Beijing is “illegal and invalid,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said on Monday.
“The South China Sea arbitration and its so-called award are illegal and invalid. China does not accept and participate in the arbitration, nor does it accept or recognize the so-called award,” the Chinese Embassy said in a two-page statement. 
China made this statement a day after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., in commemorating the 4th anniversary of the arbitral ruling, reminded Beijing that compliance in good faith with the award would be consistent with the obligations of the Philippines and China under international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which both countries are signatories.
In response to Locsin’s statement, the Chinese Embassy insisted that China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea will “under no circumstances be affected by this award.”
“China firmly opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on aforesaid award,” the Embassy added. 
The Chinese Embassy claimed that China and the Philippines have already reached “consensus” on the proper handling of the arbitration case “which has laid down solid ground for the turning around of bilateral relations.”
“In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, China-Philippines relations have maintained healthy and steady momentum, with exchanges and cooperation in various fields making continuous progress,” the Embassy said.
In his anniversary statement, Locsin stressed that the Philippines, as a law-abiding, peace-loving and responsible member of the international community, reaffirms its adherence to the award and its enforcement without any possibility of compromise or change. 
“The award is non-negotiable,” Locsin said in the statement.