Monday, October 24 2016


UN chief calls on South China Sea dispute parties abide by law

Update: July, 13/2016 - 14:50
A Filipino with the Philippines national flag painted on his forehead reacts during a demonstration along Roxas boulevard facing South China sea in Manila, Philippines, on Tuesday. — EPA Photo
Viet Nam News

NEW YORK — Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has called on parties concerned in disputes in the South China Sea (called East Sea in Việt Nam) to abide by international law and avoid taking actions that could fuel tensions. 

The UN chief was responding to the final ruling on the Philippines’s lawsuit against China over a dispute in the South China Sea issued on Tuesday.

At a regular press conference in the UN headquarters in New York, the US, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief has repeatedly called on the parties to settle disputes in a peaceful and amicable manner and in conformity with international law, including the UN Charter.

The UN Secretary General stressed that while dialogues are underway, the involved parties should stay away from activities that would provoke tensions. 

He expressed his hope that the on-going consultation on a code of conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China that is based on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) will help promote mutual understanding between the parties.

The State Department of the US on Tuesday affirmed that the ruling made by the PCA on the Philippines’s lawsuit against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution.

The department spokesperson John Kirby stated that “the United States expresses its hope and expectation that both parties will comply with their obligations”. 

“The tribunal’s decision is final and legally binding on both China and the Philippines”, he added, urging all claimants “to avoid provocative statements or actions”. 

The same day, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, welcomed the ruling on the Philippines’s lawsuit against China’s claims in the East Sea while emphasising the importance of the waters to the US economy.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s candidate, said he urges all parties to respect the tribunal’s ruling.

In another development, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also said that the PCA’s decision is final and legally binding and that the two sides should comply with it. 

Kishida stated in a statement that Japan persistently supports the compliance with legal regulations and the use of peaceful means in settling disputes at sea.

The PCA in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Tuesday  issued the ruling on the case brought by the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

It affirmed that China’s claims to historic rights over waters within the nine-dash line are contrary to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

China has caused permanent and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem at the Spratly (Trường Sa) archipelago, and that it also has no historic title over waters of the South China Sea, the tribunal said. 

The Hague Tribunal also finds no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line.

According to The Hague court, China has no rights to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surrounding the Mischief and Thomas reefs. 

The court defined “Ba Bình” feature in Việt Nam’s Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelago as a “rock” which means it has no EEZ.

The PCA also underlined that China has interfered with the traditional fishing rights of the Philippines in Scarborough Shoal, highlighting that China’s actions have worsen disputes between the country and the Philippines when efforts have been made to resolve the disputes.

The Philippine government on Tuesday welcomed the issuance the Arbitration on the sea dispute.

Philippine Rodrigo Duterte called for a cabinet meeting after the Philippines won the arbitration case against China over the disputed South China Sea.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters that the government would study the decision before making any public statement.

Beijing rejected an international tribunal ruling Tuesday that rendered its claims in the South China Sea

"The award is null and void and has no binding force," China’s foreign ministry said on its website, reiterating its territorial claims.

President Xi Jinping said the islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times and Beijing will not accept any action based on the decision, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Taiwan refuses to accept the ruling of the international arbitration tribunal.

The Taipei leader office spokesman Alex Huang said the Republic of China, Taiwan, said that the ROC was not a party in the tribunal case and the tribunal had not sought any input from the ROC.

Responses to PCA’s ruling on Philippines-China dispute

Australia said yesterday that China must accept a verdict declaring its South China Sea claims are invalid and needs to halt its artificial island building in the disputed waters.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Beijing risked reputational harm if it ignored the ruling by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, on a case brought by Manila, which said China had no title to the waterway.

"We call on both the Philippines and China to respect the ruling, to abide by it. It is final and legally binding on both of them," Bishop told national broadcaster ABC.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has  issued a statement calling on concerned parties to fully respect legal and diplomatic processes following the ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

The MFA also called on the parties to exercise refrain and avoid taking any activities that could spark tension in the region.

Replying to the media on the PCA’s ruling, the Spokesperson for the MFA said Singapore acknowledged the ruling. 

The country supported the peaceful settlement of disputes in conformity with recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the MFA remarked.

Meanwhile, Thailand said the South China Sea conflict should be addressed through joint efforts and on the basis of mutual trust and confidence as well as equal benefit.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement a few hours before the PCA made final decision on the case.

“Thailand attaches great importance to maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and adjacent areas, as well as restoring trust and confidence among countries in the region, in order to foster and environment conducive to sustainable growth and prosperity through cooperation on all constructive activities.”

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on its website that it is studying the case carefully. — Agencies



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