CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Int'l arbitration ruling on S. China Sea won't impact China: ambassador
Published: Aug 02, 2016 03:36 PM
The award of the ad hoc arbitral tribunal in The Hague on the claim of the Philippines will under no circumstances have an impact on China's sovereignty, maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said.

"China defends the settlement of the South China Sea dispute through dialogue and consultation with the directly involved countries on the basis of respect for historical facts and international law, with the aim to maintain peace and stability in the region," Li said in an interview with leading Russian media on Monday.

"The ruling made by the tribunal has no legal basis," Li said, noting that China's Nansha Islands have been China's territory since ancient times.

The ambassador reiterated China's consistent position to refuse to participate in the proceedings, and its stance that it neither accepts nor recognizes the ruling.

"In this way we exercise our rights in accordance with international law, and we also protect the dignity of international law," Li said when calling the sovereignty issue a "red line" for China.

"The Chinese people do not encroach on the interests nor envy the development of other countries," Li said, stressing however that China would not give up its own legitimate interests.

"The Chinese government and people will continue to maintain unity and cohesion, and will firmly defend every inch of the land, and every strip of the sea that belongs to us," Li said.

The ambassador highly appreciated the fact that since the emergence of the South China Sea dispute, Russia has in various statements objectively and fairly summed up the situation in the South China Sea and appealed to the international community for justice.

Li also approved numerous media reports on the South China Sea issue and the arbitration ruling, which "restored the true historical picture of what has been happening and showed the actual reasons behind the problem."

"The reports have exposed attempts by some extra-regional countries to intervene in the South China Sea issue in their selfish interests, inciting discord among regional states, creating tension in the region and promoting its militarization," Li said.
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