France, Germany, UK recognize PH win vs. China in South China Sea row

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18)  France, Germany, and the United Kingdom issued a joint note verbale to the United Nations on Thursday challenging China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea and recognizing the 2016 arbitral ruling favoring the Philippines.

The three countries made the stand as state parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which govern the freedom of passage on seas and coastal boundaries by nations in international waters.

The three nations maintained that China's exercise of "historic rights" over the South China Sea does not comply with international law and UNCLOS provisions.

The note verbale also states that the three countries support a peaceful resolution of the maritime claims in the South China Sea in accordance with the UNCLOS principles and dispute settlement procedures.

"This position is reaffirmed without prejudice to competing claims of coastal states over disputed territorial sovereignty to naturally formed land features and to areas of the continental shelf in the South China Sea on which France, Germany, and the United Kingdom take no position," the note verbale reads.

READ: PH stands pat on setting aside arbitration win as other nations reject Beijing’s South China Sea claim

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration sided with the Philippines in its case against China which said there was no legal basis for Beijing to claim historic rights over most of the South China Sea using their "nine-dash line" claim. China has repeatedly refused to honor the arbitration ruling.

In the fourth anniversary of the historic PCA ruling last July, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. called on China to adhere to the ruling, saying the arbitration award is "non-negotiable."