China accuses US of 'forcing' it to accept 2016 tribunal ruling

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
China accuses US of 'forcing' it to accept 2016 tribunal ruling
Protesters wave flags and hold placards in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makati, Metro Manila on July 12, 2023, during a demonstration held to mark the seventh anniversay of an international arbitral ruling that voided China's historical claims to the South China Sea, including the nine-dash line.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — China on Wednesday accused the United States of forcing it to accept a landmark ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, including parts that Manila calls the West Philippine Sea. 

The Chinese Embassy in Manila called the US the “mastermind” behind the arbitration in a statement issued on the seventh anniversary of the Philippines’ victory against China. 

The ruling handed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016 concluded that Beijing’s claim of historic rights in the South China Sea was baseless. Seven years later, China still does not accept or recognize the decision, calling it “illegal, null and void.”

“The US ropes in allies to play up the issue each year on the anniversary of the illegal award to gang up against China and to exert pressure, and force China into accepting the award. We are firmly against this,” the Chinese Embassy said. 

Washington on Wednesday pressed China to cease its “routine harassment” of maritime vessels and finally abide by the tribunal’s ruling. On Tuesday, the European delegation in the country reitereated the importance of fully complying with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In response, the Chinese Embassy said the countries outside the region should respect its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interest in the South China Sea, and stop using the issue “to drive wedges among regional countries.” 

It also urged those nations to “refrain from being a troublemaker to peace and stability in the South China Sea.” 

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the landmark ruling has a “definitive contribution” to the development of international law. The agency also launched a microsite dedicated to providng the public with official information on the country’s maritime victory. 

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