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Wang Yi: China's Rejection of Arbitration Is Precisely in Accordance with Law

2016/02/17

On February 17, 2016, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia jointly met the press after holding the third round of China-Australia Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue in Beijing. In terms of the Philippines' unilateral initiation of the South China Sea arbitration, Wang Yi expressed that China's rejection of the arbitration initiated by the Philippines is precisely in accordance with law.

Wang Yi noted that after joining the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China, under the rights entitled in Article 298 of the Convention, made a public statement of optional exception in 2006 that it rejects the arbitration on the matters concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. At present, the Chinese government will certainly continue standing its ground. In addition, over 30 countries around the world including Australia have made similar optional exception declarations.

Wang Yi emphasized that the Philippines' obstinate request of the arbitration is an intentional attempt of the impossible. First of all, the Philippines' unilateral initiation of the arbitration without consulting with China violates the general international practice that arbitration should be agreed by the disputing parties. Second, it violates a number of agreements signed with China, which stand for settling the disputes through bilateral consultations and negotiations. Furthermore, it violates Article 4 of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by President of the Philippines, i.e., to resolve the South China Sea disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. Finally, it violates the common sense that the prerequisite of an arbitration initiation is using up all bilateral approaches.

Wang Yi stated that the Philippines' initiation of the South China Sea arbitration with Punic faith makes us doubt whether there are complex international backgrounds and even ulterior political purposes behind the country's stubborn acts.

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