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Philippines: UN tribunal's award a significant step

Members of the Philippine delegation at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the site of the United Nations arbitration on the case against China over maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. Malacañang/Abigail Valte, Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Friday welcomed the United Nations arbitral tribunal's award on jurisdiction, hailing it a key development in the South China Sea case,

"The decision represents a significant step forward in the Philippines' quest for a peaceful, impartial resolution of the disputes between the parties and the clarification of their rights under UNCLOS," Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said in a statement.

Hilbay led the Philippine team in presenting its arguments before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands last July.

"The elimination of preliminary objections to the exercise of the tribunal's jurisdiction opens way for the presentation of the merits of the Philippines' substantive claims," Hilbay said.

The solicitor general added that the tribunal will set a hearing on merits and will rule after six months.

The tribunal issued its awards on jurisdiction and admissability on the said case, citing that it concerns the role of "historic rights" and source of maritime entitlements in the disputed sea.

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