In response to Manila's recent attempt to bring territorial disputes with China to international arbitration, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday urged the Philippines to avoid taking any action that could complicate the South China Sea issue.
The disputes between Beijing and Manila are caused by the "illegal" Philippine occupation of some islets and reefs of China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei added.
China has always been committed to addressing disputes with the Philippines through bilateral consultations and negotiations so as to safeguard bilateral relations and regional peace and stability, Hong said, noting that it showed China's utmost goodwill and sincerity.
The Philippines government said on Tuesday that it has brought the dispute on the South China Sea to an Arbitration Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to media reports.
The international court would not take the case without agreements from all parties involved, Dong Manyuan, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.
On Tuesday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an "amicable" settlement to the dispute between China and the Philippines, adding that upon receiving requests from UN member countries, the UN will "provide technical and professional assistance, but primarily all these issues should be resolved by the parties concerned."
Ban's statement took a neutral tone to avoid backing any country, Dong told the Global Times, noting that it also echoed the principle that the two sides should solve the issue through bilateral talks.