US history of hypocrisy looms over South China Sea arbitration

By Zhu Junqing Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/10 19:08:01

The US-led Western countries have been good at maximizing their private interests and committing illegal acts through implementing double standards under the cover of international law and regulations.

The recently-released British Iraq War Inquiry Report found out that there was "no imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein in March 2003, who the US claimed possessed weapons of mass destruction that have still not been found to this day.

Though the report sidestepped defining the nature of the war, the US-led invasion of Iraq is widely considered to have been an illegal and unjust war that circumnavigated the United Nations (UN) and overturned a sovereign nation by a unilateral military action.

Such behavior should be criticized, condemned and eliminated as international law and the UN authority should never be toyed with and peace and stability should never be sacrificed to serve some groups' interests.

The US has always been hypocritical when talking about international law. The global superpower is skilled at intentionally applying and misinterpreting international law and norms to attack its "rivals," while it gives itself the right to choose whether or not to resort to international law.

Examples abound. In 1986, the International Court of Justice ruled that the US had violated international law by supporting the Contras rebels against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. However, the US refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

In 2002, the US unilaterally withdrew from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, leading to its termination. Recently, Washington used international law as a "knife" to attack Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

In the South China Sea dispute, the US not only instigated the Philippines to submit an arbitration application to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, but at the same time it also smeared China's law-abiding image and sowed discord between China and its neighbors.

China has reiterated that the arbitration goes against international law for the following reasons.

The Philippines' unilateral initiation of the arbitration violates its agreement with China to resolve any dispute through bilateral negotiations; the unilateral initiation violates the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); the Philippines' unilateral act violated the right that China enjoys as a party to the UNCLOS to seek dispute settlements of its own choosing, and undermined the UNCLOS' authority and integrity; the Arbitral Tribunal has violated the UNCLOS and abused its power by hearing the case.

Obviously, the US, a self-proclaimed "international attorney," is an expert in jurisprudence, but to maintain its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region, Washington chose to ignore facts and engage in mud-slinging against China.

It is advisable for Washington to readjust its attitude toward China, as China will firmly safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency.

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