China: No to UN arbitration on sea row

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2013 01:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 09:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Chinese government continues to oppose the Philippines' move to seek international arbitration over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

The report on China.org, the authorized portal site by the Chinese government, quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei saying: "China disagrees with moves that go against the consensus (reached before)."

It said China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002. According to the declaration, relevant disputes should be solved through friendly talks and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.

The Philippine government earlier announced that it would ask an arbitration panel under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea -- a 1982 treaty signed by both countries -- to rule on China's claims.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said, "The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China."

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, has urged China to face the Philippines before a UN arbitration tribunal.

During the briefing, Hong said he had made clear China's stance on the Philippines' demand to go to arbitration last week.

Last January 23, Hong urged the Philippines to avoid taking any action that could complicate the issue.

Hong said all countries signing the DOC should adhere to their commitments and relevant disputes should be solved through negotiations between sovereign states directly involved.

The spokesman reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters in the South China Sea.