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Chinese leaders reject S. China Sea arbitration award

Chinese president and premier said China will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision Tuesday by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal.

President Xi Jinping said the South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since ancient times. China's territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in South China Sea, in any circumstances, will not be affected by the award.

He made the remarks on Tuesday afternoon while meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Beijing.

China has always been a guardian of international rule of law and of fairness and justice, and will always adhere to the path of peaceful development, Xi said.

China is firmly committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea, and to settling the disputes with countries directly involved, through peaceful negotiations based on the recognition of historical facts and in accordance with international law, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang said that by not accepting nor recognizing the award, China is in fact safeguarding the international law.

Li's statement came as he co-chaired the 18th China-EU Summit with Tusk and Juncker at the Great Hall of the People.

As a country directly concerned, China cares most and is committed to the peace and stability of the South China Sea region, Li said.

China will also be committed to peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiations and consultations in line with the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and international law, said Li.

He called on the European Union to maintain an objective stance and neutrality on the issue.

China has refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings, reiterating that the tribunal in The Hague has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 12Jul16]

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East China Sea Conflict
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