Pakistan Stands with Beijing as China Refuses to Accept South China Sea Arbitration Award

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad/Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping categorically declared that China will not accept any proposition or action regarding the South China Sea arbitral tribunal case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government. Xi Jinping said China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in South China Sea will not be affected by the award under any circumstances, reported by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Reacting on the Philippines move Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed that the South China Sea arbitration, unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, is a political farce made under the pretext of law, said on Tuesday.

The tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government issued its final award on Tuesday, amid a global chorus that as the panel has no jurisdiction, its decision is naturally null and void. A source with the Philippine Foreign Ministry told Chinese state news agency Xinhua that the ministry has received the award.

Earlier on Tuesday  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang pointed out that some Individual countries who are trying to discredit China through the arbitration cannot claim to represent the international community.

Supporting the Beijing’s stance, Pakistani Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Pakistan maintains that disputes over the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved, through consultations and negotiations by states directly concerned, in accordance with bilateral agreements and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

In this context, the Spokesperson added that Pakistan opposes any imposition of unilateral will on others, and respects China’s statement of optional exception in light of Article 298 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Pakistan believes that maintenance of peace and security is the collective responsibility of all parties to the South China Sea. Countries outside the region should fully respect efforts made by China and the ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and play a constructive role to this end.

Before Pakistan Many countries like Angola, Liberia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, among others, already have expressed their support for China’s stance over the issue of South China Sea arbitral tribunal unilaterally decision. More countries have voiced their support for China’s position on the South China Sea issue “despite pressure,” a spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Ministry Lu Kang said here on Monday.

The South China Islands have been China’s territory since ancient times. To challenge China’s sovereignty over the islands, the Philippines unilaterally filed an arbitration case in 2013 at a tribunal based in The Hague, which is expected to announce its award on Tuesday.

Historical Back Ground of South China Sea arbitration case

  1. The Philippines claims that it only wants the arbitral tribunal to rule on the status and maritime entitlements of relevant features in the Nanshan Islands. Sovereignty issues, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), are beyond the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. China has also validly excluded delimitation disputes in a declaration in 2006.
  2. A day after filing the arbitration in 2013, the Philippine foreign ministry said the purpose of the case is to “protect our country’s territory and oceanic area” and vowed not to “give up our country’s sovereignty.”
  3. The Philippines, which has never engaged in any negotiation with China regarding arbitration, has breached UNCLOS Article 283 by unilaterally taking its case to an international tribunal.
  4. The arbitral tribunal’s reception of the South China Sea sets a bad example in settling international disputes because the case is beyond the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
  5. The selection of the members of the tribunal is highly questionable.Most of them were picked by Shunji Yanai, a famous Japanese right-winger, who in 2014 presented a report to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider lifting the ban on Japan sending its military overseas.
  6. The South China Sea has enjoyed decades of peace and commercial prosperity, but has seen a more complex security situation and escalated tensions since the unilateral filing in 2013 by the Philippines and supported by countries outside the region.
  7. No matter what the verdict, the illegal nature of the arbitration will make it null and void. China’s stand of neither participating in, nor accepting the arbitration, and neither recognizing, nor honoring the verdict not only safeguards its core interests but also international law.
  8. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reiterated that the door to dialogue remains open to the Philippines on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.

The Writer is Editor Daily Online News Paper “The Fortress” He can be reached at arifqoreshi@gmail.com

[With Inputs of Press Release]

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