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Ambassador Wang Lutong Interviewed by the People's Daily Overseas Edition on the Philippines' South China Sea Arbitration Case

    On July 12, the Arbitral Tribunal rendered so-called ‘awards’ pertaining to the South China Sea Arbitration Case initiated by the Philippines. The Chinese government issued statements and white papers, comprehensively and systematically setting out China’s firm position that it neither accepts nor recognises the results of the Arbitral Tribunal’s awards. China’s stance fully embodies the resolution and determination of the Chinese government to firmly safeguard national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, as well as to settle disputes peacefully through negotiation.

    The so-called South China Sea Arbitration Case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines government violated the bilateral agreement between China and the Philippines and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. It is an outright political farce. The Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration established at the Philippines' unilateral request consistently referred to UNCLOS, whilst, through its conduct, violating the spirit and provisions of UNCLOS. The so-called ‘awards’ rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal completely contravene the general practices of international arbitration, and deviate from the object and purpose of UNCLOS, which is to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes. The ‘awards’ substantially impair the integrity and authority of UNCLOS, and impinge on China's legitimate rights as a sovereign state and state party to UNCLOS. The Arbitral Tribunal is not an ‘International Tribunal’, with its composition the result of political manipulation. It lacks representativeness, authority and credibility. China’s stance of neither accepting nor recognising the so-called arbitration safeguards its rights under international law, and also maintains the integrity and authority of UNCLOS. The so-called arbitration has no binding force on China and does not, under any circumstance, affect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. China will never accept any claim or action based on the arbitration awards.

    There is a Chinese saying ‘a just cause enjoys abundant support’. China’s righteous position on the South China Sea arbitration case has received public understanding and support from over 70 countries, as well as from international and regional organisations. This reflects the attitude of the international community towards this political ploy. Now the play has come to an end and the audience dispersed, it is time to get back on track. The South China Sea should be a sea of peace, cooperation and development. Peace in South China Sea region benefits all parties. China will never allow any party to deliberately ‘stir up’ disputes in the South China Sea. As an active player in creating international order and safeguarding regional peace, China will remain committed to following a path of peaceful development and developing friendly relations with its neighbours. China is willing to settle disputes peacefully and through direct negotiation with concerned parties on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS. China will continue to contribute to defending the ‘UN Charter’, safeguarding the international rule of law and to promoting peace and the development of mankind.

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