G7 to demand China respect international ruling over "South China Sea"

By Japannews   July 3, 2016 | 08:39 pm PT
Group of Seven (G7) nations is going to issue a joint statement that will demand that China respect the upcoming international ruling regarding Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea).

The Philippines has filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague in which it claims that the Chinese government violated international law. China, for its part, has said that such claims are invalid and that it will not accept the ruling.

G7 nations intend to pressure China by issuing a joint statement seeking a peaceful solution to the dispute, observers said.

The Philippines is making the case that Beijing’s claim to the area within the “nine-dash line” violates the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The nine-dash line is a U-shaped boundary stretching deep into the territorial waters of Southeast Asian nations.

The court of arbitration will hand down its ruling on July 12.

At the G7 Ise-Shima summit meeting in May, leaders reaffirmed in a declaration the importance of “seeking to settle disputes by peaceful means such as through judicial procedures, including arbitration” on maritime security issues.

They avoided mentioning China by name, but did specify the maritime issue in the statement in the hopes of keeping Beijing in check ahead of the arbitration, the sources said.

In the joint statement, G7 nations are to demand that China respect the court of arbitration’s proceedings, they said.

Regardless of the court’s decision, G7 countries plan to ask China to act based on international law by demonstrating the importance of settling disputes through legal means, they said.

Though some countries have taken a cautious stance about issuing the joint statement, the government has been working with them to reach a common view on the issue.

In a speech in Beijing on Friday, at an event to mark the Chinese Communist Party’s 95th anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that China would not yield on a single point before the court issues its ruling.

“We won’t let any country make us betray our core interests, or swallow the bitter pill of damaging the country’s sovereignty, security and development,” Xi said.

He made it clear that China would not accept an unfavorable ruling, saying, “We will never give up our legitimate rights and interests.”

China would avoid taking the initiative to cause a conflict, but would not be afraid if conflict occurred, Xi said in his speech.

Nine-dash line

A demarcation used by China to define its claims in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea). China claims sovereignty over territory within the U-shaped line. The nine-dash line was originally an 11-dash line drawn by the government of the Republic of China in 1947. Although the line has no basis in international law, China has created artificial islands to enhance its effective control over Subi Reef and other areas where both Beijing and Manila staked claims.

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> Hague arbitration court to rule in the nine-dash line case on July 12

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