Chinese leadership publishes document criticizing yesterday's ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Law of the Sea. Beijing reaffirms its sovereignty and attacks judges "incompetent and paid by the Philippines." Meanwhile, China calls for renewed bilateral talks with Manila - and the new president Duterte - to "resolve the dispute".
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Less than 24 hours after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (CPA) ruling on the Law of the Sea, that China "has no rights" in the South China Sea, Beijing insists that the disputed territories fall under its sovereignty.
Regardless of the decision of the Hague tribunal - of a "binding" nature but without coercive instruments to ensure application - the government leaders argue that China "was the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited" the islands and waters of the disputed Asia-Pacific area. Beijing claims to have exercised a "continuous and peaceful" "sovereignty and jurisdiction" in the area.
In a statement after the ruling, the national leadership points out that China has never ceased to "carry out patrol activities", "resource development" and "scientific research" on the islands and in the "surrounding waters." The White Paper published by China stresses once more that the resolution of disputes must "respect history."
Beijing's document contrasts sharply with the findings of the Hague judges, that "there is no evidence" that China has "historically exercised" an "exclusive control" over the water and its resources in the area.
In addition, according to the judges any alleged "historical" claim by Beijing was "dissolved" at the very moment China the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) in 1996, which precisely sets territorial limits against all previously defined criteria.
In recent years Beijing has repeatedly boycotted the work of the tribunal, stressing that it was not competent to rule on the issue. At the same time, it has mounted a diplomatic campaign to discredit the courts work and decisions.
One of the first consequences of the verdict was Biejing's request for new talks between China and the Philippines to "resolve the dispute" in the South China Sea. China believes the new Philippine president offers "new hope" to renewing ties between the two countries.
Strongly criticizing the decisions of the outgoing President Benigno Aquino, one of the great promoters of the case at the international court, the Chinese leaders are looking to the new head of state Rodrigo Duterte State to restart the direct negotiations between the two countries.
Finally, the Chinese government has launched a frontal attack on the court and its judges. Liu Zhenmin, vice-foreign minister, spoke of "a failed court", which does not act impartially, but hands out judgements on the basis of the "control and compensation" of the Philippines. Moreover, none of the judges was of Asian origin and, therefore, none of them possessed the "appropriate level" of geopolitical knowledge of the continent to settle the dispute.