China rejects Hague tribunal judgement: Xinhua

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 12 2016 05:49 PM | Updated as of Jul 12 2016 07:42 PM

Protesters throw flowers while chanting anti-Chinese slogans during a rally by different activist groups over the South China Sea disputes. Reuters

BEIJING (UPDATED) - China "does not accept and does not recognize" the ruling by a UN-backed tribunal on its dispute with the Philippines over the South China Sea, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

The comments, in a brief dispatch that did not identify a source, follow a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that China has no historic rights to its claimed "nine-dash line".

Judges at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague on Tuesday rejected China's claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a ruling that will be claimed as a victory by the Philippines.

"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line'," the court said, referring to a demarcation line on a 1947 map of the sea, which is rich in energy, mineral and fishing resources.

In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work.

READ: Hague court's full ruling on Philippines vs. China

The Chinese government, through state-owned news agency Xinhua, issued a statement after the international tribunal published its ruling.

Read Beijing's full statement below:

Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China on China' s Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea

To reaffirm China' s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, enhance cooperation in the South China Sea with other countries,and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, the Government of the People' s Republic of China hereby states as follows:

I. China' s Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) consist of Dongsha Qundao (the Dongsha Islands), Xisha Qundao (the Xisha Islands), Zhongsha Qundao (the Zhongsha Islands) and Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands). The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back to over 2,000 years ago. China is the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them continuously, peacefully and effectively, thus establishing territorial sovereignty and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea.

Following the end of the Second World War, China recovered and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao which had been illegally occupied by Japan during its war of aggression against China. To strengthen the administration over Nanhai Zhudao, the Chinese government in 1947 reviewed and updated the geographical names of Nanhai Zhudao, compiled Nan Hai Zhu Dao Di Li Zhi Lue (A Brief Account of the Geography of the South China Sea Islands), and drew Nan Hai Zhu Dao Wei Zhi Tu (Location Map of the South China Sea Islands) on which the dotted line is marked. This map was officially published and made known to the world by the Chinese government in February 1948.

II. Since its founding on 1 October 1949, the People' s Republic of China has been firm in upholding China' s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. A series of legal instruments, such as the 1958 Declaration of the Government of the People' s Republic of China on China' s Territorial Sea, the 1992 Law of the People' s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the 1998 Law of the People' s Republic of China on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf and the 1996 Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People' s Congress of the People' s Republic of China on the Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, have further reaffirmed China' s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

III. Based on the practice of the Chinese People and the Chinese government in the long course of history and the position consistently upheld by successive Chinese governments, and in accordance with national law and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China has territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, including, inter alia:

i. China has sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao, consisting of Dongsha Qundao, Xisha Qundao, Zhongsha Qundao and Nansha Qundao;

ii. China has internal waters, territorial sea and contiguous zone, based on Nanhai Zhudao;

iii. China has exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, based on Nanhai Zhudao;

iv. China has historic rights in the South China Sea.

The above positions are consistent with relevant international law and practice.

IV. China is always firmly opposed to the invasion and illegal occupation by certain states of some islands and reefs of China' s Nansha Qundao, and activities infringing upon China' s rights and interests in relevant maritime areas under China' s jurisdiction. China stands ready to continue to resolve the relevant disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation with the states directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law. Pending final settlement, China is also ready to make every effort with the states directly concerned to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature, including joint development in relevant maritime areas, in order to achieve win-win results and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

V. China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all states under international law in the South China Sea, and stays ready to work with other coastal states and the international community to ensure the safety of and the unimpeded access to the international shipping lanes in the South China Sea.