China says arbitral court's ruling has no effect on its maritime rights

BEIJING, July 7 -- China said on Thursday that the decision of the South China Sea arbitration will not affect its territorial integrity or maritime rights in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei reiterated at a routine press briefing that China would neither accept nor recognize any award in the South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and the adjacent waters, said Hong.

The Chinese Government has consistently and actively maintained its sovereignty over the islands, he said.

Both the Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea of 1958 and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of 1992 expressly provide that the territory of China includes, among others, the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha Islands, the Zhongsha Islands and the Nansha Islands.

Under the relevant provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), as well as the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone (1992) and the Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the People's Republic of China (1998), China's Nansha Islands is fully entitled to Territorial Sea, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf, according to Hong.

All those acts affirm China's territorial sovereignty and relevant maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, he said.

Hong emphasized China's historical rights in the South China Sea are supported by historical and jurisprudential evidence.

During a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Philippines' refusal of dialogue and its unilateral initiation of the arbitration violated the spirit of international rule of law and distorted UNCLOS, which are not conducive to the peaceful settlement of disputes.

He said the Philippines will further stoke tensions in the South China Sea and should be resisted by countries and people who uphold justice.

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