China urged to face Philippines at United Nations tribunal
MANILA (AP) - A senior U.S. lawmaker meeting Philippine officials said on Tuesday that China should agree to face the Philippines before a UN arbitration tribunal to avoid a possible crisis over their long-raging territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The Philippines took a daring legal step last week when it notified China that it will challenge Beijing's claims to virtually the entire South China Sea in a case before an arbitration tribunal under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China has not issued a formal response, but its ambassador to Manila, Ma Keqing, has reiterated Beijing's "indisputable sovereignty" over the contested region.
Representive Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Washington takes no sides in the territorial conflicts but backs an internationally accepted diplomatic solution.