• China said it will assert its rights over islands in the South China Sea while maintaining its compliance with international laws and the UNCLOS.

China said it will assert its rights over islands in the South China Sea while maintaining its compliance with international laws and the UNCLOS. (Photo : Reuters)

China called on to the Philippines to drop the international arbitration case filed against them and urged the archipelago to pursue the bilateral talks instead.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei urged Manila to drop the arbitration case filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague during a press conference on Wednesday.

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According to CCTV, Hong reiterated China's position regarding the international arbitration and emphasized that the conflict over the contested waters and isles in the South China Sea can only be resolved through bilateral talks.

China's Statement

"The door for the dialogue between China and the Philippines to resolve the South China Sea issue through dialogue and negotiation is always open," Hong told the press, adding that China is bent on settling the issue directly with other countries claiming sovereignty over the region.

According to him, China will settle disputes with the Philippines "through negotiation, on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law."

However, the foreign affairs ministry said that China still refuses to participate in the arbitration case and in the forthcoming ruling from the court, calling for the Philippines to drop the case altogether.

"China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of advancing the arbitration proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea . . . through bilateral negotiation with China," the foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the South China Morning Post.

The statement also indicated that China will not accept any third party's decision since the matter is an issue that should be resolved between the two parties involved.

New Philippine Government

China saw an opportunity to pursue the dialogue they have repeatedly failed to gain in the past with outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

Now that the archipelago will be under a new administration, Beijing feels it is time to reopen the offer and see if the incoming president, Mindanao's tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte, will be able to give them what they want.

But China appears to be growing impatient as indicated by Wednesday's statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry accusing the Philippines of ending any possibility of negotiation.

"Ever since its initiation of the arbitration, the Philippines has unilaterally closed the door of settling the South China Sea issue with China through negotiation, and has, while turning its back on the bilateral consensus regarding managing differences, taken a series of provocative moves that infringed upon China's legitimate rights and interests," the statement posted on Xinhua read.