China: Philippines breached consensus by filing arbitration case
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 24, 2015 - 7:50pm

MANILA, Philippines - Beijing on Tuesday insisted that the Philippines breached the bilateral consensus between the two countries as it filed an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations.

"In an attempt to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the Philippine side unilaterally initiated the arbitration in breach of bilateral consensus with China and its commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press conference.

Hong maintained that China will neither accept nor participate in the arbitration case in connection to the disputed South China Sea.

The first round of oral arguments on merits before the arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands has started on Tuesday and will last until November 30.

Malacañang assured that the Philippine delegation, headed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, is fully prepared to present the country's case before the tribunal.

Meanwhile, China is set to install facilities on islands and reefs in the disputed sea to fulfill its "international responsibility and offer better public goods and services to countries in the region."

"For example, the two light houses constructed by us on relevant islands and reefs have made it safer and more convenient for personnel stationed there and ships passing by," Hong said.

The land reclamation project of China on some islands and reefs in the Nansha or Spratly group of islands has been completed since June.

Hong stressed that the construction of defense facilities in the artificial islands is not related to militarization in the region.

READ: China denies militarization in South China Sea

"We will also build a moderate amount of necessary defense facilities on some of the islands and reefs which have nothing to do with militarization, target no one and have no impact on the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea conferred by international law on all countries," the Chinese official said.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier called on China to respect the rule of law following its extensive claims over the South China Sea.

CHINA CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY CONDUCT OF PARTIES FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT HONG LEI PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO QUOT SEA SOUTH SOUTH CHINA SEA
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