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China claims being a 'victim' of South China Sea dispute

A masked protester holds a placard as he joins a rally to coincide with the oral arguments scheduled Tuesday before the Arbitral Tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands on the complaint filed by the Philippines against China's claims of the disputed islands in the South China Sea Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines. The disputed islands known as the Spratlys Group of islands is claimed by China, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - Beijing on Tuesday claimed that it has been "exercising utmost restraint" in the South China Sea maritime dispute despite being a "victim" of the said issue.

During her regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying noted that China has been considering regional peace and stability in dealing with the maritime dispute.

"China has always adhered to and has been committed to resolving, in accordance with international law and on the basis of respecting historical facts, relevant disputes relating to territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests with relevant states directly concerned through negotiation and consultation," Hua told members of the press.

China reiterated its position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitral case filed by the Philippines before the United Nations.

"This position is supported by sufficient legal evidences (sic). And for more information, please refer to the Position Paper of the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines released last December," Hua added.

Hua also called on the Philippines to drop its arbitration case against China in relation to the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

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She stressed that China is willing to resolve the disputes through negotiation and consultation, without the involvement of a third-party settlement.

The Philippines earlier rejected China's renewed offer to bilateral talks, citing 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 has concluded its hearing on the jurisdiction and admissibility of the Philippines's case against China last Monday.

The court is set to decide on the jurisdiction over the maritime dispute within the year.

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