|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Remarks on the US Statement about Issues Relating to the Arbitration Unilaterally Initiated by the Philippines|
Q: US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel implied in his recent speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that arbitration is the only practical means left for China and the Philippines to solve competing claims in the South China Sea. He also touched upon issues concerning the dotted line, entitlements of the maritime features and jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. What is China's comment on that?
A: China's position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines remains unchanged. By doing so, the Philippines breached its repeatedly affirmed consensus with China and its undertakings in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). In 2006, the Chinese government made a declaration in pursuance of Article 298 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), excluding disputes regarding such matters as those related to maritime delimitation and historic titles from the compulsory dispute settlement procedures including arbitration. That is a proper practice of exercising the rights to which China is entitled under the international law as a state party to the UNCLOS. The Position Paper released by the Chinese government last December has given a comprehensive presentation of China's stance and the legal grounds supporting that.
Attempting to push forward the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, the US side just acts like an "arbitrator outside the tribunal", designating the direction for the arbitral tribunal established at the request of the Philippines. This is inconsistent with the position the US side claims to uphold on issues concerning the South China Sea disputes. Being not a party concerned to the South China Sea issue, the US side should live up to its pledge of not taking sides and refrain from actions that go against regional peace and stability.