BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on an international tribunal’s ruling on the case filed by the Philippines against China’s claims in the South China Sea (all times local):
European Council President Donald Tusk said in Beijing that visiting European leaders have discussed an international tribunal’s South China Sea ruling with their Chinese counterparts.
He said Wednesday that he hoped the ruling would now be used “to create a positive momentum in finding a solution to the dispute in the South China Sea.”
Tusk said Europe would continue to speak out on upholding international law, including when it comes to the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Seas, or UNCLOS.
The case before The Hague tribunal, filed by the Philippines, had centered on the applicability of China’s vaguely drawn “nine-dash line” South China Sea boundary under UNCLOS.
The EU has “full confidence” in the arbitration panel and its procedures, Tusk told reporters.
Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, who brought the case against China in 2013, says the arbitration tribunal’s ruling in favor of the Philippines brought clarity to the South China Sea disputes.
He says the ruling “now establishes better conditions that enable countries to engage each other, bearing in mind their duties and rights within a context that espouses equality and amity.”
Aquino says cooperation, however, will remain elusive if conflicts over claims persist.
China refuses to recognize the tribunal’s decision that it violated the Philippines’ maritime rights by building up artificial islands that destroyed coral reefs and by disrupting fishing and oil exploration.
Aquino’s successor, Rodrigo Duterte, has taken a softer line against Beijing, saying he’s open to bilateral talks.
A senior Chinese official says Beijing reserves the right to declare an Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea, a move that would sharply escalate tensions in the disputed territory.
Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters Wednesday: “China has the right to do so . China has established an ADIZ over the East China Sea.”
He says such a move will be based on the level of threat against China.
He says, “If our security is being threatened, of course we have the right to demarcate a zone. This would depend on our overall assessment.”
He also says China hopes other countries will not take this opportunity to threaten China and “we hope that they will work with China to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and not let the South China Sea become the origin of a war.”
China’s ADIZ over the East China Sea is not recognized by the U.S. and others.
A day after an international tribunal said China had no legal basis for its expansive claim to the South China Sea, Beijing issued a policy paper saying the islands in the South China Sea are “China’s inherent territory”.
In a policy paper released Wednesday, China’s government asserted its sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters and opposes other countries’ “illegal claims and occupation.”
“It is the Philippines that has created and stirred up the trouble,” said Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, in introducing the paper.
The paper blamed the Philippines for violating an agreement with China to settle the disputes through bilateral negotiation and said Manila “distorted facts and concocted a pack of lies” to push forward the arbitral proceedings.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday that China’s reputation and ambitions of becoming a world leader would suffer if it ignored the South China Sea ruling.
Bishop called on all parties to respect the ruling, which she described as final and legally binding.
“To ignore it would be a serious international transgression,” Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “There would be strong reputational costs.”
Bishop said she expected to speak with her counterparts in China and the Philippines in coming days and expected the ruling to be discussed at the upcoming ASEAN and East Asia Summit meetings in mid-July.
She said Australian ships and aircraft would continue to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight rights but refused to comment on specific details.
China’s ambassador to the U.S. says an international tribunal ruling that rejected its expansive claims over the South China Sea will intensify conflict and could lead to confrontation.
Ambassador Cui Tiankai (sway tee-ehn k-eye) also accused the Hague-based tribunal of “professional incompetence” saying it was dealing with a sovereignty dispute, which is beyond its jurisdiction.
The case was brought by the Philippines, a U.S. ally.
Cui was speaking at a Washington think tank hours after the tribunal issued its ruling Monday.
U.S. officials say the ruling will narrow the geographical scope of territorial disputes in the South China Sea and could provide an impetus for fresh diplomacy among the claimant nations.
Cui said China always supports negotiations among the concerned parties, but the ruling will undermine the possibility of diplomacy.