World / Asia-Pacific

Award of South China Sea arbitration result of US manipulation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-15 15:03
WASHINGTON -- The award of the South China Sea arbitration is nothing but a result of the "political manipulation" by Washington, a US expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The award issued on Tuesday sweepingly sides with the claims by the Philippines, which unilaterally initiated the compulsory arbitration against China in 2013 in violation of bilateral agreements and international law.

"Well, the result is extremely disappointing because I think the whole thing was manipulation," said William Jones, Washington Bureau chief of the US publication Executive Intelligence Review.

"The Philippines, with the backing of the United States, took this to the arbitration court instead of negotiating with China."

Manila and Washington have their own reasons for taking the case to arbitration. The Philippines hoped to gain more from China while the United States wanted to maintain its hegemony in the region by containing China, Jones said.

He criticized the arbitration as "a breach of international law," because the judges were simply playing politics rather than practicing the law.

"I think I agree with the Chinese position that it's illegal. It was a violation (of international law), it was a political manipulation, and it should not be accepted," Jones said.

He added that this case has "set a bad example" for the world, by breaching the international law that governs relations between nations.

China has declared from the start that it will not accept nor participate in the arbitration. Neither will it implement the award issued by the arbitral tribunal, which has no jurisdiction over territorial issues and maritime delimitation.

In light of a new president taking office in the Philippines, Jones said he is "relatively positive" that the Philippines and China can sit down to talk about resolving their differences.

"Now with Mr. (Rodrigo) Duterte, I think there's a possibility," he said.

However, Jones said Washington holds the key to the success of such talks, but that he doubts its willingness.

He blasted Washington for its "confrontational rhetoric" on the South China Sea issue, trying to play the role of "referee."

Jones also warned Washington against trying to be an "enforcer" of the arbitration ruling, by sending more warships to the South China Sea to conduct "freedom of navigation" operations in waters concerned.

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