BEIJING, July 13 - A defiant China today said the UN-backed tribunal�s verdict should be �dumped into garbage� and asserted that it has the right to declare a unilateral air-defence zone over the strategic South China Sea after its expansive maritime claims in the region was shunned by a five- member international jury.
Rejecting international appeals to implement the verdict, Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan said China will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision by the arbitral tribunal. �China�s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea will not be affected by the ruling under any circumstances,� Chang said here.
China has refused to abide by the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal in The Hague. It has said the Philippines� claim over parts of the SCS is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law. �The Chinese navy can operate in South China Sea at any time as the area belongs to China. Certain country has sent aircraft carrier fleet to the South China Sea,� Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.
�We do not recognise or implement the award. We hope it is only a white paper and it will not be enforced. Just dump it into garbage or put it in a shelf or put it in archives and let us come back to the track of negotiations,� he said, adding, China hopes to go back to the negotiating table with the Philippines.
�This is the policy of the Chinese government and hope that neighbouring countries in the South China Sea and ASEAN countries jointly uphold peace and stability of the South China Sea and freedom of navigation and over flights,� he told reporters.
As to whether China will set up an Air Defence Identification Zone over the SCS to force aircraft flying in the area to seek permissions from Beijing, the assistant foreign minister said China �has the right to do so.�
�We have set up one over the East China Sea (close to Japan) and whether we will set up another in South China Sea will depend on the degree of threat we are facing,� Liu said. � PTI