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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

RP’s UN request on sea spat to magnify row — Beijing

China has reacted sharply to the Philippines’ request for a United Nations (UN) tribunal to intervene in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute with Beijing saying such action could “complicate” the territorial conflict.

“We hope that the relevant country honors its promises, and ... does not take any action to complicate or expand the problem,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

He also insisted that its southern neighbor was occupying some of China’s islands in the South China Sea.

“China has consistently opposed the Philippines’ illegal occupation,” he was quoted as saying.

But Malacañang maintained that the move taking the maritime dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas (ITLoS) was made after previous efforts exhausted by the government apparently failed to resolve the issue between Manila and Beijing.

At a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda noted pronouncements by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario as he stressed the government’s move is based on international law.

“We have adopted a three-way track — legal, political and diplomatic — and we feel that now is the time to raise before the arbitral tribunal. This is, again, on the basis of a rules-based approach to resolving the issues in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

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