Stance on arbitration case 'enjoys wide backing'

Updated: 2016-05-13 02:58

By Wang Xu(China Daily)

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Stance on arbitration case 'enjoys wide backing'

This satellite image shows the Yongshu Jiao of China's Nansha Islands. [Photo/Xinhua]

China enjoys widespread support among the international community for its decision not to accept or take part in a case initiated by the Philippines over the South China Sea, according to a senior diplomat.

Beijing does not feel isolated and has always been a firm defender and practitioner of international law, the diplomat said on Thursday.

Xu Hong, director-general of the Department of Treaty and Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a news conference in Beijing, "Many countries ... are hyping this issue up, but no matter how loud their voices are, they still represent a minority of countries in the world."

In 2013, the Philippines unilaterally initiated an arbitration case against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague regarding its disputes with Beijing over the South China Sea. A ruling by the court is expected soon.

In recent months, Beijing has received increased backing from the international community for its stance on the South China Sea, with more than a dozen countries' top diplomats agreeing that related disputes should be resolved through negotiations by countries directly concerned, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Xu said on Thursday that the tribunal on the South China Sea has no jurisdiction, as the issue concerns territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

"The tribunal has no jurisdiction over the arbitration, so any decision made by such an institution is not legally binding, and there is no such thing as recognition or implementation of its ruling," Xu said.

Chheang Vannarith, chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, said, " The Philippines aims to harm the global image of China.

"The court ruling will stir a new wave of tension in the South China Sea."

Joseph Matthews, director of the ASEAN Education Center, said the Philippines' unilateral attempt at arbitration over the South China Sea dispute is fundamentally flawed as the arbitration tribunal has no jurisdiction over the dispute.

Xinhua contributed to this story.