Beijing/The Hague: A UN-backed international tribunal yesterday struck down China’s claims of “historical rights” in the strategic South China Sea, prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping to reject its ruling and asserting that Beijing will not accept the verdict “under any circumstances.”

The nine-dash line in the South China Sea is a demarcation line that China has been using to make its case for controlling 90% of SCS. It is based on a Chinese map dating back to the 1940s. PIC for representation
The nine-dash line in the South China Sea is a demarcation line that China has been using to make its case for controlling 90% of SCS. It is based on a Chinese map dating back to the 1940s. PIC for representation

Xi’s strong remarks came immediately after The Hague-based five-judge tribunal appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration dismissed the core of China’s claims over the 90% South China Sea (SCS), ruling that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’,” which is based on a Chinese map dating back to the 1940s.

In his meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Xi said China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in SCS will not be affected by the ruling under any circumstances. Xi’s comments indicate China’s tough stand on the ruling.

China “neither accepts nor recognises” the ruling of the tribunal in the SCS arbitration established at the request of the Philippines, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Beijing. “The award is null and void and has no binding force,” it said in a statement minutes after the tribunal delivered its judgement. The area is strongly disputed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.