China not sending representative to Arbitration; tells PHL return to negotiation

A week before The Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration hears Philippines case against China, the Chinese government said it will not send observers and maintains that it will not participate in the arbitration.

The Philippine legal team, headed by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, is set to defend Philippines’ case against China’s claim over virtually the entire West Philippine Sea from July 7 to 13.

Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said today, “China has made it pretty clear of not accepting nor participating in the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines.”

“What the Philippines does is an obvious political provocation under the cloak of law,” she added. “The Philippines attempts to attain more illegal interests for itself and force China to make compromise on relevant issue. This is impractical and will lead nowhere.”

The spokesperson said that Philippines should discard illusions and return bilateral negotiation and consultation to resolve disputes and meet China halfway.

China stands that it owns virtually the entire West Philippine Sea.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said that the arbitration tribunal is expected to come up with a decision on jurisdictional issue from August to September. After the jurisdictional issue has been resolved another hearing will be held in November this year.

“We are quite confident that we will get a favorable decision both on the issue of jurisdiction and merits of the case,” DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Charles Jose previously said.