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MFA Spokesperson Lu Kang's Remarks on so-called ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration
2016/07/12

Q: Why does China refuse to accept the ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration?

A: The answer is simple. It is because the arbitration is illegal from the very beginning. China is upholding the integrity, authority and sanctity of international law including UNCLOS. You may have noted that more and more countries have joined the Chinese government in voicing their disagreement, supporting all sovereign states in independently choosing dispute settlement regime in accordance with international law and encouraging countries concerned to resolve disputes through direct dialogue. Not only China but also a majority of the international community refuses to accept such an illegal thing.

Q: Tomorrow afternoon at five o'clock, the Arbitral Tribunal will issue its final award. How fast will China respond? Will you post China's response immediately online or will you call for a press conference on that?

A: You do not have to wait until tomorrow to get China's position on that, since it has been known to all since 2013. We will definitely not recognize nor accept such an illegal arbitration which was unilaterally initiated in violation of international law. Of course, we will continue to elaborate on our position after the award comes out tomorrow. As for how we will do that, you will know tomorrow.

Q: Why does China say the arbitration is illegal?

A: I wonder whether you have been following the issue from the beginning since we have made clear at the outset that the arbitration violated relevant clauses in UNCLOS. The subject-matter of the arbitration is either beyond the scope of UNCLOS or falls within the scope of the optional declaration made by China pursuant to UNCLOS like dozens of other countries did. Besides, China and the Philippines have agreed, through a series of bilateral instruments, to settle their relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation. The Aquino government of the Philippines has gone back on its words. As I said, more and more countries have realized that the arbitration is illegal as it is based on a breach of bilateral agreement, not to mention international law including UNCLOS.

Q: The Foreign Ministry of Cambodia issued a statement on Saturday, reaffirming its support to China's stance on the South China Sea issue. What is your comment?

A: We have noted the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, saying that the arbitration case is about the dispute between China and the Philippines which has nothing to do with ASEAN, and that Cambodia will not take part in issuing any joint statement with regard to the result of the arbitration case. This is the 3rd time within less than a month that the Cambodian government spells out its objective and unbiased position on the South China Sea issue.

This statement upholds not only the sanctity and authority of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and ten ASEAN countries and international law, but also the common interests of China and ASEAN and peace, stability, security and prosperity of the South China Sea region.

To give you more information, more countries have publicly voiced their support to China in recent days. Less than ten days into July, for instance, besides Cambodia, Angola, Liberia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, and Senegal have expressed their understanding and support to China. These increasing voices for justice issued in public strongly prove that people have a natural sense of justice.

With more and more countries agreeing with China to resolve disputes by parties directly concerned through bilateral dialogues and supporting the right of sovereign states to settle disputes by means of their own choice, those who attempt to blacken China's name with the arbitration case will find it difficult to label themselves as the international community and the spokesperson of international law and to accuse China of self-isolation. Who is following and championing international law and who is distorting and trampling it can be clearly judged by the facts. Most members of the international community have made their attitudes clear.

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