Published: Tue, July 12, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Beijing will not `step back` in South China Sea

The worldwide tribunal will issue a ruling on July 12 that could invalidate China's sweeping territorial claims to most of the South China Sea, a strategically important waterway rich in natural resources.

The Philippines is willing to share natural resources with China in contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) areas even if it wins a legal challenge next week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said Friday, July 8.

Speaking by telephone, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry the United States should stick to its promises not to take sides in the dispute, China's foreign ministry said.

On Tuesday, Beijing sought to downplay fears of conflict in the South China Sea after an influential state-run newspaper said Beijing should prepare for military confrontation.

Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said the Obama Administration and other counterparts across the world recognise the severity of the threat posed by China's aggressive, coercive actions in the South China Sea that undermine worldwide norms.

"If the Chinese, in respecting the decision of the arbitral tribunal, would like to negotiate within the context of that [decision] along with the other all means let's pursue that", Yasay said.

China reached out to India as the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague is set to issue its award on the dispute on July 12.

The official China Daily reported Monday that China is ready to start negotiations with the Philippines if Manila ignores the tribunal ruling.

Earlier this week, a veteran Chinese foreign policymaker said the ruling "amounts to nothing more than a piece of waste paper" and urged Washington to scale back its "heavy-handed intervention" in the disputed waters.

China claims almost all the South China Sea, but its claims overlap in part with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

"The PLA has held similar exercises in the same general area of the South China Sea and declared a similarly large section off limits".

The ruling may escalate disputes as well as threaten the fairness and authority of worldwide conventions, according to the expert.

The minister said that he had presided over a military discipline review meeting on Wednesday during which he ordered all military units to conduct a review on standard weapon fire procedures within 45 days to make sure such a blunder will not happen again.

A TOP U.S. official says next week's global ruling on a challenge to China's claims in the South China Sea could determine whether the region is ruled by law or "raw calculations of power".

Beijing also complained that a Japanese citizen participated in the formation of the tribunal, saying that's inappropriate because Japan has its own maritime disputes with China.

Dai's remarks came during a discussion in Washington sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment and China's Chongyang Institute.

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