China says Philippines' U.N. request on seas complicates issue

BEIJING Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:08am EST

A page from a Chinese passport displays a Chinese map which includes an area in the South China Sea inside a line of dashes representing maritime territory claimed by China, in Kunming, Yunnan province, November 23, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

A page from a Chinese passport displays a Chinese map which includes an area in the South China Sea inside a line of dashes representing maritime territory claimed by China, in Kunming, Yunnan province, November 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday that a request by the Philippines for a U.N. tribunal to intervene in its longstanding South China Sea territorial dispute with China would only complicate the issue, and denounced Manila's "illegal occupation" of islands there.

Manila has asked the tribunal of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to order a halt to China's activities that the Philippines says violates the Southeast Asian nation's sovereignty.

China's claims over islands, reefs and atolls in resource-rich waters off its south coast and to the east of mainland Southeast Asia set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts.

Asked about the Philippines' move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said its southern neighbor was occupying some of China's islands in the South China Sea.

"China has consistently opposed the Philippines' illegal occupation," he told a daily news briefing.

China supports talks, but only on a bilateral basis with the countries directly involved, as previously agreed on by China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Hong added.

"We hope that the relevant country honors its promises, and ... does not take any action to complicate or expand the problem," he said, without elaborating.

It was not clear how the tribunal could help. While all its decisions are binding on countries concerned, it has no power to enforce them.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (4)
Abulafiah wrote:
China doesn’t want any independent arbitration, and we all know why.

Jan 23, 2013 7:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
fyus wrote:
China will seek “independent” arbitration, if there is any. Anyone knows the UN and the so-called international marine court are controlled by the US.

Jan 23, 2013 10:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
chen10 wrote:
The photo shows the latest passport from china drawing the contested territories. Why not show the whole south china sea with all the demarcation of China’s nine dash line fairy tale and that of countries in Southeast Asia namely, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia to have a better picture?

It is more durable, civilized and peaceful to hold this arbitration with a third party which is independent and credible. And besides, while China is getting powerful, it is actually expanding their nine dash line fairy tale which ’til this day do not even have the exact coordinates. So there should be a stop to this expansionist and robbing of territories.

Those countries having less in might should find refuge in law.

Jan 23, 2013 11:16am EST  --  Report as abuse
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