China Consul Rejects Hague Ruling on West Philippine Sea

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The Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Zhen, made a strong statement during her visit to Iloilo City, asserting that the landmark arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) was “illegal, null, and void.” Zhang emphasized that China has never accepted and will never accept this ruling, as the country firmly believes that its rights and interests in the territorial dispute in the South China Sea are deeply rooted in historical and legal facts, as well as international law.

During a news conference, Zhang referred to 12 articles from Chinese media outlets that support China’s sovereignty and rights in the area. She also highlighted that disputes with the sea should not define the overall bilateral relationship between China and the Philippines. Zhang stated that both countries have reached a consensus to cherish their bilateral relationship and have an improved maritime communication mechanism. She emphasized the importance of calming down the dispute and handling it properly.

Zhang expressed support for joint efforts between China and ASEAN member countries to maintain peace and stability in the region. China has always upheld the policy of settling disputes through peaceful consultations, and Zhang stressed the significance of avoiding any kind of provocations. She bemoaned the presence of misinformation on the issue, stating that it undermines effective communication and diplomatic relations between the two countries. Zhang urged the media to seek the truth and avoid sending wrong messages to the public, as it could poison the good and friendly atmosphere that exists between China and the Philippines.

China claims historic rights over virtually the entire West Philippine Sea, a claim that is disputed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan. In 2016, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague invalidated China’s expansive claim in the strategic waterway and affirmed the Philippines’ sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone. However, China has refused to recognize this landmark decision, dismissing it as “illegal” and a “mere piece of paper.”

It is important to note that this statement from the Consul General of China provides insights into China’s perspective on the West Philippine Sea dispute. As a writer, it is crucial to present multiple viewpoints and encourage readers to further explore the complexities of the issue.

Source: The Manila Times

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