China 'does not accept or recognize' tribunal's South China Sea ruling

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(Reuters) — China said it does not accept or recognize an arbitration court ruling that it has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and that it has breached the sovereign rights of the Philippines with its actions there, state media reported on Tuesday (July 12).

China, which has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, vowed again to ignore the ruling and said its armed forces would defend its sovereignty and maritime interests.

"This afternoon, the arbitration tribunal for Philippines' South China Sea arbitration case made an illegal, null and void, and so-called final ruling, which China has commented on many times. The unilateral application for arbitration made by the Philippine Republic's government of Aquino III violates international law, and the arbitration tribunal has no jurisdiction, and China does not recognise or accept (the result)," state broadcaster CCTV anchor Kang Hui read from a statement.

China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Finding for the Philippines on a number of issues, the panel said there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within its so-called nine-dash line, which covers much of the South China Sea.

It said China had interfered with traditional Philippine fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal, one of the hundreds of reefs and shoals dotting the sea, and had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights by exploring for oil and gas near the Reed Bank, another feature in the region.

None of China's reefs and holdings in the Spratly Islands entitled it to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, it added.

The ruling is significant as it is the first time that a legal challenge has been brought in the dispute, which covers some of the world's most promising oil and gas fields and vital fishing grounds.