China Urges Philippines To Drop Territory Grab Case

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The Chinese government is trying to pressure The Philippines into halting an international court case over a bid to grab territory in the South China Sea.

The court at The Hague in The Netherlands is expected to rule in favour of The Philippines within a few weeks.

The Philippines government is challenging Chinese attempts to redraw a map of international waters, which includes grabbing and developing several small islands.

China has faced growing criticism of the action in recent weeks from the USA, Japan and other countries in the Asia Pacific.

The US has sent warships on patrol through the disputed waters, while private aircraft from several countries have flown into the disputed airspace.

Pressure to drop case

The Chinese government has already announced that any ruling from the international court will be ignored.

Now, the Philippines is accused of failing to try to resolve the dispute by negotiation and ignoring international law.

China wants The Philippines to stay the court action in favour of talks.

“China urges The Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of advancing the arbitration proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China,” the Chinese statement said.

“On issues concerning territory and maritime delimitation, China does not accept any means of dispute settlement imposed on it; nor does China accept any recourse to third-party settlement.”

Rescue and navigation

The statement also blames The Philippines for ‘provocative moves’ and undermining peace and stability in the region.

China is building a hospital and other facilities, such as lighthouses and dormitories on formerly uninhabited islands. The government denies the development is for military purposes and claims they are for improving sea rescue and navigation in the region.

Besides The Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam are also laying claim to some of the islands and international waters.

China is relying on a 75-year-old hand drawn map to claim sovereignty over 80% of the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Taiwan argue that the reefs, atolls and islets seized by China are too small to be considered land mass and cannot support a right to declare the surrounding as international waters.

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