China: Philippines arbitration rejection lawful

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Beijing—Foreign Minister Wang Yi says China’s rejection of arbitration filed by the Philippines over terroritorial claims, is in line with the law.
His remarks came after talks with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Beijing on Wednesday, as Australia called for a resolution to the South China Sea disputes through peaceful means, including arbitration.
“China is actually following international law by not accepting arbitration regarding sovereign and maritime entitlements.
Because after joining the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2006, China issued a declaration according to the rights given to China by Article 298 of the UNCLOS. We issued a government statement excluding China from being subjected to the compulsory settlement measures. The Chinese government will continue to stand by the declaration.” said Wang Yi.
The minister listed reasons why the Philippines’ arbitration attempt, first made in 2014 to a UN tribunal, is invalid and unacceptable.
He said it was a unilateral move by the Philippines, which goes against international norms on arbitration, and that they have not yet exhausted other means to reach a resolution.
Wang Yi also said any deployment of defense facilities on China’s own territory would be legitimate.
This was in response to western reports that an advanced surface-to-air missile system was deployed to one of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
“I hope that media everywhere will turn their attention to the lighthouses that we have built on some of the islands in the South China Sea.
They are in operation now and they have been very useful in ensuring the safety of passing ships in those waters.
The meteorological forecast facilities and other facilities will provide assistance and rescue and emergency response to the fishing boats in those waters.
Because I think all of those are actions China, as the biggest state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play a positive role there.—Xinhua