Published On: Wed, Jul 13th, 2016

China claims right to air defence zone, denounces court

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Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals celebrate on Roxas Boulevard in Manila, on July 12, 2016  © AFP Ted Aljibe

Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals celebrate on Roxas Boulevard in Manila, on July 12, 2016
© AFP Ted Aljibe

Beijing (AFP) – Beijing “has the right” to declare an air defence identification zone over the South China Sea, it said on Wednesday as it stepped up denunciations of an international tribunal that ruled against its expansive claims in the strategic waters.

Whether Beijing set up such a zone — which would require civilian aircraft to identify themselves to military controllers — depended on “the level of threat we receive”, said vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin.

“Do not turn the South China Sea into a cradle of war,” he told reporters, insisting: “China’s aim is to turn the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation”.

China reasserted its claims to the area, which extend almost to the coasts of neighbouring states, after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal in The Hague backed the Philippines’ case that there was no legal basis for them.

Map showing the main findings of a UN-backed tribunal on the disputed claims in the Spratly islands © AFP Graphic -, –

Liu described the ruling as “a piece of waste paper” at a press conference, alleging the tribunal had been “manipulated”.

The five judges who ruled in the case “made money from the Philippines”, Liu said, adding “and maybe other people gave them money too”.

He stressed that four of the judges were from EU countries, with the Ghanaian chairman a longtime resident of Europe.

“Are these kind of judges representative?” he asked rhetorically. “Do they understand Asian culture?”

A Japanese former president of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, Shunji Yanai, had “manipulated the entire proceedings” from behind the scenes, he alleged.

Yanai, a former Japanese ambassador to South Korea and the US, stepped down from his role in 2014.

President Tsai Ing-wen (C) meets with the military on the deck of a Taiwanese warship before the vessel heads for Taiwan-controlled Taiping island in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, on July 13, 2016  © Taiwan's Defence Ministry/AFP -

President Tsai Ing-wen (C) meets with the military on the deck of a Taiwanese warship before the vessel heads for Taiwan-controlled Taiping island in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, on July 13, 2016
© Taiwan’s Defence Ministry/AFP –

Beijing boycotted the PCA proceedings, saying the court had no jurisdiction to rule on the issues, and has mounted a huge diplomatic and publicity drive to try to discredit the tribunal and its decision.

Liu was speaking at the launch of a government white paper on the issue.

China was “the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited” islands in the sea and their surrounding waters, the document said.

It was in direct contradiction to the ruling in The Hague on Tuesday, which said that “there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources”.

The UN-backed tribunal also said that any “historic rights” to resources in the waters of the South China Sea were “extinguished” when China signed up to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Chinese police block the road leading to the Philippines embassy in Beijing, on July 13, 2016, a day after an int'l court in The Hague ruled against China in a Philippine challenge over Beijing-occupied territory in the South China Sea  © AFP Nicolas Asfouri

Chinese police block the road leading to the Philippines embassy in Beijing, on July 13, 2016, a day after an int’l court in The Hague ruled against China in a Philippine challenge over Beijing-occupied territory in the South China Sea
© AFP Nicolas Asfouri

As such, it said there was “no legal basis” for China to claim historic rights to resources within its so-called nine-dash line demarcating its territorial claims.

China had no possible entitlement to areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, it added.

“I hope you put this decision in the wastepaper basket, or on the bookshelf, or filing cabinet and keep it there,” Liu told reporters.

He also called for renewed dialogue with the Philippines — on the basis of recognition of China’s historical claims

– ‘All measures necessary’-

 

Chinese state-run media on Wednesday denounced the ruling as biased and invalid and urged Beijing to “safeguard” China’s territorial sovereignty.

© AFPTV Gretchen MalaladThe People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, branded the award and the request by the former Philippine administration of Benigno Aquino to set up the tribunal as being “manipulated and instigated by external forces”.

It added Beijing will “take all measures necessary” to protect its sovereignty and rights.

The English-language China Daily blasted the tribunal’s award as “outrageously one-sided” and “inherently biased, unjust, and thus not executable”.

“Beijing certainly should, and has to, ready itself for worst-case scenarios, including potential military collisions,” it said.

At the briefing, Liu said that “Chinese navy ships operating in the South China Sea is normal, because it is our sea”.

China claims right to air Defense zone… by thekooza

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