John Kerry: No military solution to South China Sea dispute


Secretary of State gestures during a joint press conference with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj after a meeting in New Delhi on August 30, 2016. (AFP photo)

US Secretary of State John Kerry says there is “no military solution” to the dispute over the South Sea, calling on and the Philippines to comply with an international tribunal’s decision.
A Hague-based court of arbitration ruled in July that China’s claims to sovereignty over the disputed areas or the resources there “had no legal basis.”
China, however, dismissed the ruling, insisting that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the issue.
On Tuesday, Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay once again warned China about its refusal to accept the ruling, asking Beijing to recognize it or it would be a “loser.”
continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry told a gathering of students in New Delhi on Wednesday.
He made the remarks ahead of a G20 summit in China on Sunday and Monday that could be overshadowed by discussions on a range of issues from territorial disputes to protectionism by China, diplomats say.
The US is “interested in not fanning the flames of conflict but rather trying to encourage the parties to resolve their disputes and claims through the legal process and through diplomacy,” Kerry said.

This file photo taken on July 13, 2016 shows the Japanese Coast Guard ship PLH02 Tsugaru (background) with a Philippine Coast Guard boat (C) during their annual anti-piracy exercise in the waters off Manila Bay.  (AFP photo)

“We have made it clear that we will stand up for our rights and we will stand with our allies,” he added.
China, which claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, said last month that it was ready to start negotiations with Manila if it ignores the court ruling.
However, Yasay said, “We are trying to make China understand especially when the dust settles that unless they respect and recognize the arbitral tribunal, they will be the losers at the end of that day on this matter.”
The sea, parts of which are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam as well as the Philippines, has been a source of tension between China, the US, and some other regional countries, who are seeking control of trade routes and mineral deposits there.

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