Philippines 'welcomes' South China Sea ruling but urges restraint

Filipino activists and Vietnamese nationals release flowers as they anticipate a favourable decision from a UN tribunal ruling on the legality of China's claims to an area of the South China sea contested by the Philippines, during a demonstration along the bay walk in Roxas Boulevard in Manila on July 12, 2016.
PHOTO: AFP

MANILA - The Philippines welcomes a ruling by a United Nations-backed tribunal on Tuesday (July 12) that declares China has no "historic rights" in the South China Sea, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said, as he urged restraint.

"The Philippines welcomes the issuance today... on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea," Yasay told reporters minutes after the court in The Hague released its verdict.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration said the tribunal ruled there was no legal basis for China to claim "historic rights" to resources within the South China Sea falling within its claimed nine-dash line, which is based on a Chinese map dating back to the 1940s.

"Our experts are studying the award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. In the meantime, we call on all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety," Yasay said.

"The Philippines strongly affirms its respect for this milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea." He added the decision upheld international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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