China accuses U.S. of trying to influence Philippines’ sea case

Protesters make noise during a rally regarding the disputed islands in the South China Sea, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati city, metro Manila July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Protesters make noise during a rally regarding the disputed islands in the South China Sea, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati city, metro Manila July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday the United States was trying to influence a South China Sea arbitration case filed by the Philippines after a senior U.S. official said China would be obligated to abide by the tribunal’s decision.

China has for years insisted that disputes with rival claimants to the South China Sea be handled bilaterally.

But this month, its claims came under international legal scrutiny for the first time when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague began hearing a suit the Philippines filed in 2013.

China has refused to take part in the case.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told a conference in Washington this week that as both Beijing and Manila are signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, legally they have to abide by the tribunal’s decision.

China issued a position paper in December arguing the dispute was not covered by the treaty because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty, not exploitation rights, and the Foreign Ministry said it stood by that.

“Attempting to push forward the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, the U.S. side just acts like an ‘arbiter outside the tribunal’, designating the direction for the arbitral tribunal established at the request of the Philippines,” it said.

“This is inconsistent with the position the U.S. side claims to uphold on issues concerning the South China Sea disputes,” the ministry added, calling on Washington to live up to its promises and not take sides.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in energy deposits, where about $5 trillion in ship-borne goods pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have conflicting claims.

China has become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea with rapid reclamation around reefs in the Spratly archipelago in particular sparking concern, both in the region and in the United States.

REUTERS

  • 5thDrawer

    “Attempting to push forward the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines” …. Well, China, do 2 ‘sides’ initiate a court case against one side? And now it’s ‘pushing’ to hear a dispute finally, in a court-docket since 2013? You think maybe the Philippines is pushing a little since you’re building new islands out there for yourself and not waiting for ANY discussion??

    Of course, when you ‘sign’ a paper like the ‘Law Of The Sea’ under the UN charters, which you wanted to be a ‘member’ of, it becomes a little uncomfortable when it might actually go against your megalomaniac ambitions in later years. Even the USA might experience that sometimes .. right?

    • Michaelinlondon1234

      Yes but it is the mad mullah US generals that have been sailing those waters abusing every one for decades.

      • 5thDrawer

        With “about $5 trillion in ship-borne goods passing every year”, they can’t have been ‘abusing’ everyone.

        • Michaelinlondon1234

          The US is going to do to the china sea what it did for trade between Lebanon, Syria and the Arab world….F ck every one Up