The Philippines has urged China to respect a forthcoming ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague on a territorial dispute in the South China Sea after Beijing accused Manila of “political provocation”. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the waters, through which about US$5 trillion in trade is shipped every year. China refuses to recognise the case lodged by the Philippines with the tribunal and says all disputes should be resolved through bilateral talks.
“The Philippines, as well as the international community, is asking China to respect the forthcoming ruling of the arbitral tribunal and together advance an international rules-based regime,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement in Manila. “If China does not heed our collective call, does it mean that China considers itself above the law?”