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China shrugs off UN tribunal's initial ruling

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said that the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations will not affect China's position on the sea row. Xinhua

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing on Friday refused to honor the United Nations (UN) arbitral tribunal's awarding on the jurisdiction and admissibility of the case on the disputed South China Sea.

The tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea earlier issued its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, agreeing with the Philippines's arguments that it can take the case.

"We will not participate and we will not accept the arbitration... The ruling or the result of arbitration and will not affect China's position," Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.

China has been insisting that it has indisputable sovereignty over the Spratlys or Nansha Islands and adjacent waters in the disputed sea.

"It won't affect China's sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea, our rights will not be undermined," Liu added.

Meanwhile, the Philippines considers the tribunal's initial decision as a significant step forward in the country's quest for a resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea.

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RELATED: Document: Tribunal's award on jurisdiction in South China Sea case

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, meanwhile, also reiterated China's position of not accepting or participating in the arbitration.

"The attempts to attain more illegal interests by initiating arbitration unilaterally is impractical and will lead nowhere," said Zhu Haiquan, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington. "China is committed to resolving relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with parties directly involved. This is the only right choice."

Earlier this week, a U.S. guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles (22-kilometer) of one of China's artificial islands to underscore Washington's position that the geographic alteration would not allow the previously submerged reef to generate territorial waters. — with a report from the Associated Press

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