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South China Sea ruling out on July 12

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THE United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration said Wednesday it will rule on the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines against China on July 12, and the Philippines said  it will respect the ruling.

The Philippines initiated the case challenging China’s claims to much of the South China Sea. 

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said that despite China’s repeated declaration that it will not recognize the tribunal’s ruling, China remains a party to the arbitration and is bound under international law to accept the PCA’s decision.

“The Philippines believes that the rule of law prescribes a just and peaceful means of resolving differences, which is why the Philippines will fully respect the tribunal’s award as an affirmation of the UNCLOS and hopes that the members of the international community and the Parties to the Convention will do the same,” the Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said his administration will wait for the PCA’s decision before deciding what to do.

“After the tribunal rules on [the arbitration case] on July 12, we can decide on the next steps.” Duterte said in his first Cabinet meeting in Malacañang. 

In Beijing, China said it will reject any ruling by the PCA an international tribunal in a contentious case brought by the Philippines over the South China Sea, the foreign ministry said as tensions mount over the disputed waters.

Beijing has consistently rejected the tribunal’s right to hear the case and has taken no part in the proceedings, mounting a diplomatic and propaganda drive to try to undermine its authority.

“With regard to territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes, China does not accept any means of third party dispute settlement or any solution imposed on China,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement on its website.

The PCA’s ruling will first be sent through e-mail to the involved parties along with a press release written in English and in French, with an unofficial Mandarin Chinese translation.

“The Parties will receive originally signed versions of the Award,” the PCA said. 

“Hard copies of the Award will also be sent to the Embassies of the States that were granted observer status for the hearings. There will be no in-person meeting or ceremony for the rendering of the Award.”

But China insists that the PCA  has no jurisdiction in the case and that Beijing will not accept any forced dispute resolution.

Hong said China has not taken part in the proceedings and rejects the court’s jurisdiction in the matter.

“I again stress that the arbitration court has no jurisdiction in the case and on the relevant matter, and should not hold hearings or make a ruling,” Hong said in a statement.

“The Philippines’ unilateral lodging of the South China Sea arbitration case is contrary to international law,” he said, adding the Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration breached international law.


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