BEIJING - China rejected the diplomatic note and its attached notification from the Philippines regarding the proposal to refer their dispute over the South China Sea to international arbitration on Tuesday.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hong Lei confirmed that China's ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing has met the Philippine foreign ministry officials and rejected the diplomatic note and the notification attached.
Hong Lei said, "China's stand on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent. Its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its nearby sea area has strong historical and legal support. Meanwhile, from the perspective of safeguarding overall situation of Sino-Philippine bilateral ties and regional stability, China has always been committed to settling disputes through bilateral negotiations."
"China has made unremitting efforts in order to safeguard the stability of the South China Sea and also to promote regional cooperation. Direct negotiations to resolve the dispute by involved sovereign countries is also the consensus in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)," said Hong Lei.
In addition, Hong added that the diplomatic note and its attached notification not only violate the consensus, but also make serious mistakes in terms of fact and law. China firmly rejects the unjust accusations.
"China hopes the Philippines keep its promises and do not take any actions to complicate and enlarge the matter, in the meantime, actively respond to China's proposal in building marine issue consultation mechanism and restart two countries establishing trust measures mechanism. China also hopes the Philippines get back on the right track to the bilateral negotiations to resolve the dispute," said Hong Lei.