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China asks PH: Drop arbitration effort

CHINA  on Tuesday  urged the Philippines to drop its arbitration case over the South China Sea dispute to bring back good relations between the both countries.

“China urges the Philippines to come back to the right track of resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.

Hua Chunying
The Philippines has asked the United Nations tribunal in The Hague to declare China’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea invalid, saying Beijing’s actions have trampled on other nations’ rights.

However, China maintained that it “will never accept the unilateral attempts to turn to a third party to solve the disputes.”

China contends the tribunal doesn’t have jurisdiction, and has refused to participate in its proceedings.

China offered again to open bilateral negotiations to settle the maritime dispute, which the Philippines rejected.

“We have asked China to participate and we continue to extend the invitation for them to explain their side,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

Jose said the Philippines has “exhausted all reasonable effort” to resolve the issue through bilateral consultations as China has demanded, but the talks failed because of the conditions set by China.

The Philippines said that any negotiation on the issue would be deemed acceptable only if other members of the Association of Southeast Nations are involved.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration wrapped up its hearing on the jurisdiction and admissibility of the Philippines’s case against China last Monday, and is expected to decide on the jurisdiction issue within the year.

In a bulletin from The Hague, deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the Philippines had concluded its presentation of arguments on why the court should hear the arbitration case.

Valte said the Arbitral Tribunal scheduled two rounds of hearings on jurisdiction and admissibility of the case filed by the Philippines.

The first round of oral arguments were held from July 7 to 8. A second round concluded  Monday, with Solicitor General Florin Hilbay delivering the closing statement.

Valte said the Philippines has until  July 23  to give its written submission to the Tribunal to amplify its answers to questions posed by individual members of the court. – With Sandy Araneta

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