(TibetanReview.net, Jul15, 2016) – China has painted India red on a world map published Jun 12 in an official daily to depict countries that supposedly support its rejection of international law and an international tribunal ruling that negated its claim over almost the whole of the South China Sea (SCS) territory. China claims “historical sovereign rights” over the territory and began building artificial islands to boost it, bullying its neighbours. The Philippines, which was one of the countries most affected by China’s extraterritorial claims, therefore took the matter to the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
The tribunal, in its ruling on Jul 12, found that there was no legal basis for China’s claim over 90 percent of the SCS territory. China had opposed the tribunal’s assumption of jurisdiction and made clear its resolve not to abide by its ruling. The Tribunal found China to be in violation of the International Covenant on the Law of Sea and the economic and sovereign rights of The Philippines.
China now claims that more than 70 countries – as asserted through its official Chinadaily.com news website Jul 12 – have publicly voiced support for its position that the South China Sea disputes should be resolved through bilateral negotiations and not arbitration and included India among them in the map.
And this was despite the fact that within hours of the tribunal’s ruling, India’s External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi had asked all parties involved in the SCS row to resolve the maritime dispute through peaceful means without threat or use of force and “show utmost respect” to the verdict by Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, reported India’s PTI news agency Jul 13.
Global trade worth USD 3 trillion is estimated to pass through the SCS which is also believed to be rich in unexplored resource, including especially oil and gas.
While repeating China’s call on the Philippines to forget the ruling of the UN-supported tribunal and come to the negotiating table, Chinese vice minister for foreign affairs, Liu Zhenmin, warned other countries that any attempt to interfere in the dispute would lead to turning the region into “a cradle of war”, reported timesofindia.indiatimes.com Jul 14.
In this connection, China has claimed the right to declare the SCS region as its Air Defense Zone and thereby control the movement of overhead flights.
Liu was also reported to have ranted against a “dozen countries” who were advising Beijing to accept the ruling of the UN tribunal.
Nevertheless, Liu has admitted that the tribunal’s ruling, which he described as “garbage”, had caused some disturbances in China’s relationship with the ASEAN nations but had not seriously hampered it.
China’s position is that it wants to resolve the dispute individually with the five clamants in the SCS dispute – The Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – without allowing a third party like a UN tribunal to have a say. But the other countries understandably fear being bullied by China into accepting grossly unfair deals.