Philippines, China clash during a meeting at UN headquarters

Head of the Chinese delegation at the 25th Meeting of States Parties to the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLoS) Ambassador Wang Min said the Meeting of States Parties to UNCLOS held June 8 to 12 is not the venue to raise South China Sea issue after Philippines Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre said UNCLoS, the constitution for the oceans, is being threatened by China’s behavior in entire South China Sea.

The Meeting of States Parties to UNCLOS was held at UN Headquarters in New York.

“If there is doubt and uncertainty on the limits of our adjacent maritime spaces affecting several States Parties in the region, and if bilateral consultations and negotiations have proven futile and one-sided because of lack of good faith, then the solution is the dispute settlement mechanism provided by UNCLOS and the UN Charter,” the diplomat from Philippines said at the meeting. “Arbitration under UNCLOS is a pacific and rules-based mode of settling disputes.”

She added that China’s reclamation in West Philippine Sea “has had to dredge out and pulverize entire systems of coral reefs that took many centuries to grow, reducing them into landfill, and thus devastating the already fragile marine ecosystem and biodiversity of the region by irreparably destroying the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life.”

In response, the Chinese diplomat said “one country just now made unwarranted accusations against China in its statement. I can not but respond.”

“China’s construction activities on her islands and reefs are conducted in the Chinese territory, falling entirely within the scope of China’s sovereignty,” Wang said. “The construction activities followed a high standard of environmental protection and will not damage the marine environment and ecosystem of the South China Sea.”

“China’s will to safeguard her sovereignty and territorial integrity is rock firm. No matter what and how much they say at this meeting or any UN venues, they will never get their way,” the Chinese diplomat added.

He added that Philippines should “correct its erroneous actions and return to the right track of resolving the disputes through bilateral negotiations as soon as possible.”