China Hopes For Impartial, Objective Remarks On South China Sea Disputes At G7 Summit

BEIJING, May 6 (Bernama) -- China hopes the relevant countries and organisations would only make impartial and objective remarks on the South China Sea disputes during the Group of 7 (G7) Summit to be held in Japan on May 26-27.

Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ouyang Yujing, said that recently there were some criticisms made by countries and organisations outside the South China Sea's region.

"Of course if relevant opinions and suggestions are constructive from other countries, China is willing to accept. But if is only about pressure, I believe it is just like a spring, the force is strong, the reaction will also be strong.

"So, we hope relevant countries and organisations will have impartial and objective attitude when making remarks on the South China Sea issue," he told a press conference here Friday.

Ouyang said that the South China Sea issue was about territorial and maritime delimitation, pointing out that the ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), stated that relevant disputes should be settled by countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation, while peace and stability should be maintained by China and ASEAN countries.

He also pointed out another article in the DOC, which said that other relevant countries were encouraged to respect the decision by China and ASEAN countries in the South China Sea issue.

Ouyang reiterated China's firm position in not accepting, participating and recognising the arbitration case, initiated by the Philippines.

He said that China had clearly stated its position of not accepting the arbitration case because it involved territorial sovereignty, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS).

He said territorial sovereignty was not subject to UNCLOS but to international law, adding therefore arbitral court should not have any jurisdiction over territorial sovereignty issue.

Furthermore, Ouyang said regarding maritime delimitation, China has issued the exclusionary declarations in 2006, that China did not accept any third-party compulsory dispute-settlement procedures.

"As such, the arbitration case should not appear as either submitted by the Philippines or accepted by the arbitral court," he added.

Ouyang said the Philippines was clear about the facts that territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation did not fall under the jurisdiction of the arbitral court.

Therefore, he added the arbitration has no legal or factual ground.

Ouyang dismissed claims by the Philippines that arbitration was the last choice after all bilateral negotiations were exhausted, saying that they never negotiated substantially on any of the items of the 15 submissions presented before the arbitral tribunal.

Reuters reported that China's increasingly assertive moves in the waters, including building artificial islands and air strips, have rattled nerves, with the G7 advanced economies (Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the US) warning last month they opposed provocation there.

China claims almost all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which more than US$5 trillion of trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims

Source: BERNAMA