Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin speaks during a news conference in Beijing
Wang criticized the U.S. for its interference in South China Sea disputes, saying the country used the issue to sow discord in the region. Reuters


  • China's Wang said Washington used the South China Sea dispute to stoke "trouble"
  • Wang added that China neither accepts nor recognizes the 2016 arbitral ruling
  • China sent dozens of warplanes and vessels around Taiwan over two days

China criticized the United States for pushing the country to accept a 2016 international tribunal ruling that invalidated China's claims over the disputed waters of the South China Sea, saying the Western powerhouse was the "mastermind" of the arbitration case in the first place.

"The U.S. disregards the history and facts on the South China Sea issue, acts against the UN Charter, and misinterprets the international law of the sea, including UNCLOS," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Wednesday, on the seventh anniversary of the Philippines' victory over China in a 2016 arbitration ruling at the Hague.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration's tribunal concluded on July 12, 2016 that "there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the 'nine-dash line.'"

U.S. Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said Wednesday China should align its maritime claims based on international law and reaffirmed Washington's support for the ruling.

In response, Wang said the "so-called award" seriously violated international law and was "illegal, null and void," adding that "China neither accepts nor recognizes it." Wang also blasted Washington for "stoking trouble and using the South China Sea issue to sow discord" in the region.

"As the mastermind behind the South China Sea arbitration, the U.S. plays up the issue each year on the anniversary of the illegal award to exert pressure and force China into accepting the illegal award. We are firmly against this," Wang reiterated.

Earlier this week, a Chinese foreign ministry representative warned any "third party" intervention could stoke tensions between China and the Philippines. Zhou Li, a counselor in the ministry's information department, said interference by an external force could turn the South China Sea into a "sea of war."

The China-Philippines dispute was recently further fueled by the controversy around the "Barbie" movie, which depicted a map of the South China Sea that some critics said propagated Beijing's nine-dash claims.

Wang's stern comments against the U.S. came around the same time Taiwan's defense ministry said Beijing sent navy ships and a huge group of warplanes around the island nation over two days.

A total of 38 warplanes and nine navy vessels were sent around Taiwan between 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, the ministry said, the Associated Press reported. Also from Wednesday morning through noon, another 30 planes, including J-10 and J-16 fighter jets from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), swarmed the area.

The ministry tweeted that 33 PLA aircraft and nine Chinese Navy vessels were also detected around the island that China has long claimed to be part of its territory.

Taiwan, like the Philippines, has fought with China for its sovereign territory, and the two countries have allied with the U.S. to strengthen their defenses.

In preparation for a potential invasion by China, Taiwan has reportedly studied the Russia-Ukraine war "very closely," and how Ukraine has defended itself so far from the Kremlin's advances.

The Philippines, on the other hand, maybe considering an increase in its defense budget amid China's advances in the West Philippine Sea.