China has rejected a ruling by the Hague-based tribunal over its disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea.
On Tuesday an international tribunal ruled against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, after the Philippines challenged Beijing’s right to exploit resources across vast swathes of the strategic waters.
The tribunal ruled against China’s claims to islands in the South China Sea in an arbitration which is likely to escalate tensions.
Judges on Tuesday sided with the Philippines which had brought the case already boycotted by Beijing.
“There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’,” the court said in reference to a 1947 demarcation line.
China immediately dismissed the ruling, saying it “does not accept and does not recognize” the tribunal’s arbitration on the dispute, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier, China’s Defense Ministry said, “No matter what kind of ruling is to be made, Chinese armed forces will firmly safeguard national sovereignty… and deal with all kinds of threats and challenges.”
Xinhua said shortly before the ruling was announced that a Chinese civilian aircraft successfully carried out calibration tests on two new airports in the disputed Spratly Islands.
Filipino Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay called for “restraint and sobriety,” saying “the Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision.”
Japan, which has its own territorial dispute with China, said the Hague tribunal ruling on the South China Sea is final and legally binding, urging the parties to the case to comply.
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani earlier said his country’s armed forces will carefully watch Chinese activity in the East China Sea.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said his country will ignore the ruling. “We won’t accept any of their so-called materials, no matter what they are.”
China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims. In their dispute, they are propped up by the US which often conducts military exercises in the area.
On Tuesday, Vietnam accused China of sinking a fishing boat in the disputed South China Sea but Beijing had yet to comment on the allegation.