‘Birds of the same feather flock together’. That old adage perfectly describes the current situation in the highly contested South China Sea when China finds ally in Russia over the case lodged by the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
While the Philippines, and probably the entire world, awaits the much-anticipated ruling of the international tribunal that arbitrates cases concerning the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China sought its longtime ally’s support.
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a talk with its counterparts in Russia, particularly with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. During the meeting, China lambasted the move of the Philippines to bring the case before an international tribunal and accused the Philippines of “internationalizing’ the issue.
Ever since the Philippines filed the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, China has strongly opposed such move, saying it would not participate in the same proceedings. China, on the other hand, has been pushing for unilateral talks, that is, only between the Philippines and China.
“Both China and Russia should stay on guard against abuses of mandatory arbitration,” Wang was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
Based on a report from state-run news Xinxhua News, China described its refusal to take part in the case filed by the Philippines at The Hague as a “move meant to uphold the dignity and authority of the law.”
It added that both China and Russia would remain on guard on the mandatory arbitration concerning the disputes in the vast waterways to which, China claims almost 90 percent of the area. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is expected to dispense its ruling by the end of May or early June, this year.