The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday lauded the report released by the US State Department that reaffirmed its previous pronouncement that China’s maritime claim in the South China Sea has “no legal basis.”
“We welcome the affirmation of the 2016 Arbitral Award by the US State Department’s Limits in the Seas No. 150: People’s Republic of China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea,” the DFA said in a statement.
According to the DFA, the US report, which states that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is consistent with the 2016 Arbitral Award rendered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines over the South China Sea maritime dispute.
The DFA noted that it is also consistent with the Philippines-US Joint Vision Statement issued on Nov. 16 last year, which asserts the same position over China’s maritime claims.
It can be recalled that during the bilateral strategic dialogue, the US also conveyed that it “fully stands by” its position on maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The US report was issued last week by the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs of the US Department of State-Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
The study stressed that the four categories of maritime claims Chinais asserting such as the sovereignty claims over maritime features, straight baselines, maritime zones, and historic rights, are “inconsistent with international law” and “has no legal basis.”
During the Manila Forum for China-Philippines Relations on January 17, China insisted on its rejection of the 2016 arbitral ruling, saying that “its position is unshakeable.”
Fu Ying, vice chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s 13th National People’s Congress said “China cannot accept the South China Sea Arbitration because it’s not fair.”
She stressed that “the Law of the Sea did not give countries the right to decide the territory. The Law of the Sea is about maritime rights.
The Law of the Sea does not give any country the power or the right to impose on others. So, China does not want to accept the unfair conclusion of the arbitration.” State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi also expressed during the forum that China will work with the Philippines find ways to properly manage and resolve the issue and do away with stressing “only one side’s claims and imposing one’s own will.”
“China will join hands with the Philippines to properly handle the South China Sea issue. We each have respective claims and positions. Before an agreement can be reached, it is important that we put the issue in a proper place and prevent it from affecting or even taking hostage the overall bilateral relationship,” Wang stressed.