China urges Philippines to immediately cease arbitral proceedings
Updated: 2016-06-08 21:26
BEIJING -- China on Wednesday again urged the Philippines to stop its arbitral proceedings and return to the right track of settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment at a routine press briefing.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying that disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should be settled through bilateral negotiation.
Hong said that by unilaterally initiating the arbitration in 2013, the Philippines had turned its back on the possibility of solving the issue through negotiation, leading to a dramatic deterioration of relations between China and the Philippines.
China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling maritime disputes through bilateral negotiation in a number of bilateral documents, but the two countries have never engaged in any negotiation on the subject-matters of the arbitration, said Hong.
By unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines has violated its agreement with China as well as its own solemn commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said.
This is an abuse of the dispute settlement procedures of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is against international law, including UNCLOS, he added.
The door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiation is always open, he said. "China will remain committed to settling through negotiation the relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law."
"China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China," Hong said.