Philippines refuses bilateral talks with China following South China Sea ruling

Adjust Comment Print

Manila has rejected Beijing's demand that it "disregard" an global ruling that invalidated China's claims to much of the South China Sea before negotiating on the issue, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay said yesterday.

A statement published on the website of China's maritime administration announced the closure of an area off the coast of Hainan Island, southern China, to host a military exercise.

A top Chinese Admiral said yesterday that China will not stop construction on the Nansha Islands in strategic South China Sea which was awarded to the Philippines by an global tribunal. China will remain committed to peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea through consultation and negotiation.

The Chinese navy chief said this week that Beijing would not halt the construction of islands and reefs in the disputed waters.

Yasay stressed that China will have to reconsider its position on the matter and learn to respect the worldwide community, even as he stated that he still believed in the possibility of alternate bilateral negotiations with China.

China claims a vast part of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion worth of trade passes through annually.

Chinese coastguards prevented a Filipino fishing boat from entering the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea on July 14, according to a Filipino broadcaster.

In the past two years, China has reclaimed thousands of acres on seven features in the Spratly Islands, an area where Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan also have claims, building ports, large airstrips and radar installations.

Duterte has earlier said the interests of the Philippines' allies would be taken into consideration as the government eyes bilateral talks with China after winning the arbitration case.

The arbitration court ruled Beijing violated the Philippines' sovereign rights to exploit resources in waters up to 340 kilometers beyond its coast, or its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). "But China consistently opposes so-called military freedom of navigation, which brings with it a military threat and which challenges and disrespects the worldwide law of the sea", Sun said.

In response, China has deployed fighter jets and ships to track and warn off the American ships, and accused the US of threatening its national security.

Comments