Judges at an arbitration court in The Hague rule against Chinese claims of economic and historical ownership over the resource rich waters of the South China Sea. Julie Noce reports.
Judges in The Hague ruled Tuesday that China does not have economic or historic rights to a group of islands in the South China Sea. The arbitration court also ruled that China breached the sovereign rights of the Philippines by exploring for oil and gas and by building artificial islands. Even before the historic ruling was announced, China vowed to ignore any decision made by the court. Whatever the ruling is, we won't recognise it, a foreign ministry spokesperson said. We will have nothing to do with it and will not accept it. The area in dispute is rich in oil and gas fields and vital fishing grounds. The Philippines, who filed the case in 2013, claimed victory, but urged restraint. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHILIPPINE FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY, PERFECTO YASAY, SAYING: "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. The decision upholds international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS. The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region." Before the ruling China's Defense Ministry said a new guided missile destroyer was commissioned at a naval base on the southern island province of Hainan, which has responsibility for the South China Sea.