Chinese authorities said Wednesday that the Philippines has not responded to Beijing's constant requests for a regular talks mechanism over maritime issues linked to the South China Sea territorial dispute. China's comments come weeks before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is due to rule on the case submitted by the Philippines against China in 2013 over disputed islands.
The South China Sea territory has been long debated, with Beijing laying claim to most of the region. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims to the waters, through which over $5 trillion of maritime trade passes annually. The Philippines has brought a case at an international tribunal at The Hague contesting China's claims in the area.
China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that the two countries had agreed in 1995 to settle disputes in the South China Sea "in a peaceful and friendly manner through consultations on the basis of equity and mutual respect." However, no negotiations have been designed to settle the actual disputes in the South China Sea despite several rounds of talks.
"China has on a number of occasions proposed with the Philippines the establishment of a China-Philippines regular consultation mechanism on maritime issues; however, to date, there has never been any response from the Philippine side," the ministry reportedly said.
China has also called for an immediate stop for the case filed by Manila, saying that the door of China-Philippines bilateral negotiations was always open.
"China urges the Philippines to immediately cease its wrongful conduct of pushing forward the arbitral proceedings, and return to the right path of settling the relevant disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation with China," it said.
Beijing has rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s jurisdiction over the issue raised by Philippines and also refused to take part in the proceedings.
“On issues concerning territory and maritime delimitation, China does not accept any means of dispute settlement imposed on it; nor does China accept any recourse to third party settlement,” the ministry said. Beijing has also accused Philippines of taking “provocative moves” that caused the two countries’ relations to deteriorate and affect the stability in the South China Sea.