WASHINGTON - The Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said China opposes and rejects the ruling by an arbitration tribunal against its claims in the South China Sea, but added that "the door is always open for negotiation and consultations".
Speaking at Washington think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on Tuesday (July 12), Mr Cui reiterated the Chinese Foreign Ministry's reasons for rejecting the arbitration.
In particular, he said the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the matter as "the core issues are territorial disputes and territorial issues are not subject to the Unclos (United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea)".
He had harsh words for the tribunal, highlighting that its failure to make decisions in accordance with the provisions of the convention was a "matter of professional incompetence" while "deliberate disregard, is a matter of questionable integrity".
He added that the arbitration case was initiated by the Philippines "not out of goodwill or good faith". Instead, he said it was an "attempt to use legal instruments for political purposes".
Instead of helping to alleviate tension in the South China Sea, Mr Cui warned that the proceedings "will probably do a great deal of damage to the efforts of the international community to engage in negotiations and consultations for settlement of any possible disputes".
Adding that China remains committed to diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue, he said: "We are confident that China and the other parties concerned, if not disturbed, will be able to resolve the disputes over time through negotiation and consultations."
In terms of China's relations with the United States, Mr Cui said the territory issues in the South China Sea "should not become an issue between our two countries... We want to see positive interaction in the Asia-Pacific between our two countries".
He did, however, suggest that tensions in the region had surfaced around the time when the US declared its pivot to Asia and "such an exercise of pivoting has not brought us a more stabilised South China Sea or in the region at large".
Mr Cui also hoped the US would "be careful of mounting military efforts in the South China Sea" and added that the US and China could avoid friction in region by encouraging ongoing contact and increased military exchanges.