China refuses the Philippines’ plea to honor South China Sea ruling

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) – World superpower China denied the appeal of the Philippines on Monday to recognize the 2016 arbitration ruling on the disputed South China Sea.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines emphasized the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision favoring the Philippines over China’s sweeping claims of the South China Sea is “illegal and invalid.”

“China does not accept or participate in the arbitration, nor does it accept or recognize the so-called award. China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea will under no circumstances be affected by this award,” the statement reads.

Beijing highlighted that both countries already have a compromise in handling the issue, with the establishment of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea.

China also noted their strong bilateral relations with the Philippines for the past few years. Since assuming the presidency in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte promoted closer ties with the Asian superpower and even convinced by Chinese president Xi Jinping to have a joint and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

“In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, China-Philippines relations have maintained healthy and steady momentum, with exchanges and cooperation in various fields making continuous progress. This serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and contributes to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Chinese embassy said.

On Sunday as the Philippines marked the fourth anniversary of the historic South China Sea ruling asserting the country’s claims on the sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. called on China to adhere to the ruling and that the arbitration award is “non-negotiable.”

“Compliance in good faith with the award would be consistent with the obligations of the Philippines and China under international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) to which both parties are signatories,” Locsin said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled on July 12, 2016 that Beijing’s “nine-dash line” maritime claim, which covers 85 percent of the South China Sea and 80 percent of Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), is excessive and encroached into the Philippines' 200-nautical mile EEZ.