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Canada says opposition not an excuse for disobeying sea ruling

FILE - In this July 8, 2016, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China's Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. China said Monday, July 18, 2016, that it is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, days after an international tribunal ruled against Beijing's claim to ownership of virtually the entire strategic waterway. Hainan's maritime administration said an area southeast of the island province would be closed from Monday to Thursday, but gave no details about the nature of the exercises. Zha Chunming/Xinhua via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Canada called on both the Philippines and China to comply with the recent ruling of an arbitral tribunal over the South China Sea dispute.

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration recently concluded that China's nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters does not have legal basis.

RELATED: How the Hague court ruled on the Philippines’s 15 arguments

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion said Ottawa is deeply concerned about the escalating regional tensions that may undermine peace and stability.

"Whether one agrees or not with the ruling, Canada believes that the parties should comply with it. All parties should seize this opportunity as a stepping stone to renewed efforts to peacefully manage and resolve their disputes, in accordance with international law," Dion said in a statement released Thursday.

Dion called on all claimant states to refrain from land reclamation, militarization and other actions that could jeopardize freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.

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The Canadian Foreign Minister added that all states in the region must exercise restraint and avoid coercion that may further escalate tension.

"We urge all claimants to restore trust and confidence, including through the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, and the expeditious negotiation of a binding Code of Conduct," Dion said.

Canada maintained its commitment of international law and to an international rules-based order for the oceans and seas, as well as peaceful management and settlement of disputes.

The arbitral tribunal also ruled that China violated the UNCLOS upon constructing artificial islands in the Spratly Islands, which is part of the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

China, however, refused to accept the tribunal's ruling and insisted that it has a historical and legal claim over the South China Sea.

On the other hand, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. called for restraint and sobriety following the ruling of the arbitral tribunal.

What to read next: World leaders react to South China Sea ruling

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