China opposes taking sea disputes to UN

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China has reiterated its opposition to the Philippines' request to take South China Sea disputes to a UN tribunal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Thursday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during the press conference on Thursday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during the press conference on Thursday.

Responding to a question at a daily news briefing, Hong Lei said, "China disagrees with moves that go against the consensus (reached before)."

China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002. According to the declaration, relevant disputes should be solved through friendly talks and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.

Hong made the remarks after Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, met with Philippine officials on Tuesday. Royce said China should agree to face the Philippines before a U.N. arbitration tribunal to avoid regional turbulence.

During the briefing, Hong said he had made clear China's stance on the Philippines' demand to go to arbitration last week.

On Jan. 23, Hong urged the Philippines to avoid taking any action that could complicate the issue after Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said that the Philippines government had taken its South China Sea disputes to an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Hong said all countries signing the DOC should adhere to their commitments and relevant disputes should be solved through negotiations between sovereign states directly involved.

China has always been committed to addressing disputes with the Philippines through bilateral consultations and negotiations so as to safeguard bilateral relations and regional peace and stability, Hong said, adding that it showed China's utmost goodwill and sincerity.

The spokesman said that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters in the South China Sea and that it has consistently opposed the Philippines' illegal occupation of some islets and reefs belonging to the Nansha Islands.

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