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China's sovereignty, maritime rights in South China Sea part of post-WWII int'l order: ambassador

China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea are part of the international order established after the Second World War, Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming has said.

"China's relevant claims have never exceeded the scope of the current international order; in this sense, China's rejection of the arbitration is to uphold the post-war international order," Liu said in a speech at the British think-tank Chatham House on Monday.

"It is to prevent the Convention from being politically hijacked; it is to protect the authoritativeness and the integrity of international law, including the Convention," he stressed.

Liu noted that the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines is "illegal in jurisdictional, procedural or substantive terms," and that "it has been nothing but an illegal political farce."

The tribunal has no right of jurisdiction over issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, its arbitral proceedings are against the rules of UNCLOS, and its ruling is "an aberration from the fundamental purposes of the Convention," Liu said.

"The obvious bias of the tribunal has solved no problem or dispute," he told his audience. "Rather, it created problems and intensified disputes. The arbitration thus has no substantive justice."

He added that the arbitration has "zero possibility" to become a "watershed" in the developments in the South China Sea, "nor will it be allowed to disturb the overall peace and stability the region now enjoys."

The arbitration ruling will by no means affect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the diplomat said.

The arbitration ruling will by no means affect China's commitment to peaceful solution through bilateral negotiations and consultations, he continued.

"The momentum of cooperation between China and ASEAN has not been changed by the arbitration, either," Liu said.

The ambassador called on the new Philippine government to "consider the overall interests of China-Philippine relations and the common interests of both countries" and "come back to the track of dialogue and consultations."

He stated that "we are opposed to certain countries' 'gunboat policy' under the pretext of 'protecting the freedom of navigation and overflight' and 'maintaining regional peace'."

"We are opposed to them taking advantage of the arbitration to hype up or create tensions in the South China Sea," he said. "The South China Sea must not become an arena for some big power from outside the region to flex their muscles."

According to Liu, the South China Sea issue is left over from the history, but at the same time it concerns real interests of today, with geopolitics involved.

"Resolving this issue will take time, patience and the mutual understanding and respect between countries concerned."

"For a solution to be fundamental and enduring, it has to be peaceful, it has to go through equal-footed consultation and negotiation between countries directly concerned, it has to be based on respecting historical facts and international law," concluded the envoy.

[Source: Xinhua, London, 26Jul16]

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East China Sea Conflict
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