Ambassador: China has indisputable sovereignty over S. China Sea islands

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Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing reiterated Tuesday China's principled position that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent waters, after the Philippines announced it had taken the disputes to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal.

"The Chinese side strongly holds the disputes on South China Sea (SCS) should be settled by parties concerned through negotiations," Ma said in a meeting with Assistant Secretary of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Theresa Lasaro. The latter submitted the Note Verbale that the Philippines will initiate arbitral proceedings of the South China Sea issue, according to the Chinese Embassy in Manila.

"This is also the consensus reached by parties concerned in the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, " she added.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario announced at a press briefing on Tuesday that the Philippine government had brought the South China Sea disputes to an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The DFA chief said the legal action against China on the nine- dash line is "an operationalization of President Aquino III's policy for a peaceful and rules-based resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea (international name: South China Sea) in accordance with international law specifically Unclos."

The move to bring the disputes to the UN Arbitral Tribunal is Manila's latest attempt to show its hardline position toward China on the territorial disputes.

The Chinese Government has always stood for a negotiated settlement of international disputes through peaceful means. In this spirit, China has solved questions regarding territory and border with some neighboring countries through bilateral consultations and negotiations in an equitable, reasonable and amicable manner.

This position also applies to the South China Sea. China is committed to working with the countries concerned for proper settlement of the disputes related to the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations in accordance with the universally- recognized international law and the contemporary law of the sea, including the fundamental principles and legal regimes set forth in the 1982 UNCLOS.

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