On July 16, 2016, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui expressed that China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea will not be affected by the arbitration award in his speech at the luncheon for the 5th World Peace Forum.
Zhang Yesui said that the South China Sea arbitration case filed by the Philippines is a typical case full of political bias. The arbitration appeal was unilaterally initiated under the disguise of a political purpose. The composition of the arbitral tribunal was improvised out of a political agenda and the arbitration award was carefully crafted for a political scheme. This kind of behavior runs counter to the spirit of the rule of law, tramples on the international law and norms governing international relations, and sets a dangerous and bad precedent for the world.
Zhang Yesui said that the reckless overstep of power and law-bending judgment of the arbitral tribunal are of great harms. The award is filled with errors in procedures, legal basis, evidences and facts, and thus has no impartiality, credibility, and binding force at all. This award breaks the integrity and authority of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), shakes the confidence of each country in third-party dispute settlement mechanism, impacts the foundation of modern international law and international order as well as jeopardizes regional peace and stability.
Zhang Yesui said that China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea will not be influenced by the award. China opposes and will not accept any proposition and action based on the award and will never negotiate with any other country over the South China Sea based on the illegal award. No one, no country and no organization should expect to use the award to put pressure on China and waver China’s firm will of safeguarding sovereignty and rights and maintaining international fairness and justice. China’s firm stand is not only to safeguard its own rights, but also to fulfill international rule of law as well as maintain international fairness and justice and the authority and integrity of the UNCLOS.