The Chinese government is crying for becoming the victim in West Philippine Sea dispute. “Being a victim of the South China Sea issue, China, bearing in mind the whole situation of regional peace and stability, however, has been exercising utmost restraint,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said after Philippines presented its position before the Arbitral Tribunal on the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility.
China says Philippines is illegally occupying some islands and reefs in China’s Spratly (Nansha) Islands since the 1970s.
The Chinese spokesperson added that China has always adhered to and has been committed to resolving, in accordance with international law and on the basis of respecting historical facts, relevant disputes relating to territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests with relevant states directly concerned through negotiation and consultation.
The Arbitral Tribunal is giving China an opportunity to comment until August 17 in writing on Philippines’ arguments during the Hearing on Jurisdiction and Admissibility.
Though China chose not to participate in the arbitration, the tribunal wants to “assure each party a full opportunity to be heard and to present its case” as prescribed under Article 5 of Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLoS).
The Tribunal commits to make a decision on jurisdiction before year ends. “In the event that the Arbitral Tribunal determines that it has jurisdiction over some or all of the Philippines’ claims, it will then proceed to a hearing on the merits,” the five-man tribunal said.