BEIJING: China summoned the Philippines ambassador yesterday to lodge a strong complaint over Manila’s seeking of international arbitration in a festering territorial dispute over the South China Sea. The Philippines filed the case against China on Sunday at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague, subjecting Beijing to international legal scrutiny over the waters for the
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told the Philippines’ ambassador that China was “extremely dissatisfied and resolutely opposed” to the case, repeating that China did not accept it and would not participate.
“The Philippines forcing of international arbitration is not conducive towards resolving the Sino-Philippine dispute over the South China Sea,” the Foreign Ministry cited Liu as saying.
The case would not shake China’s resolve to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Liu added.
The only way to address the issue was through bilateral talks, he said, repeating another of China’s standard lines.
Over the weekend, a Philippine vessel delivered food, water and troops to one of the disputed atolls in the South China Sea, called Second Thomas Shoal, evading two Chinese coastguard ships trying to block its path.
Liu expressed anger at that too, especially as the Philippines took reporters along to what China calls Ren’ai Reef. “China will not tolerate the Philippines’ occupation of Ren’ai Reef in any form,” he said, calling on the Philippines to stop its “provocative behaviour”. REUTERS