Tribunal ruling on South China Sea final and binding: US

Washington: The US said theiInternational arbitration court's ruling on the South China Sea should be treated as final and binding and hoped that both China and the Philippines would comply with their obligations. In a statement, after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday ruled there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources in the South China Sea, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said: "In the aftermath of this important decision, we urge all claimants to avoid provocative statements or actions." He said the decision by the Tribunal in the Philippines-China arbitration is an important contribution to the shared goal of a peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China Sea. "The United States strongly supports the rule of law.A We support efforts to resolve territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea peacefully, including through arbitration," Kirby said. "As provided in the Convention, the Tribunal's decision is final and legally binding on both China and the Philippines. The United States expresses its hope and expectation that both parties will comply with their obligations." "We encourage claimants to clarify their maritime claims in accordance with international law -- as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention -- and to work together to manage and resolve their disputes," he added. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague accused China of interfering with the Philippines' fishing and petroleum exploration, building artificial islands in the waters and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone. The South China Sea is a resource rich strategic waterway through which more than $5 trillion worth of global trade is shipped each year. Beijing has placed runways and radar facilities on new islets it has created in the disputed sea after piling huge amounts of sand onto reefs. "There is no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line," the court said. China reacted angrily the ruling, saying it did not accept or recognize it. "The award is null and void and has no binding force," the Foreign Ministry said. China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea should under no circumstances be affected by such rulings, it said.

IANS Beijing refused to participate in the case and has denounced it as a plot against China led by the US.