Chinese foreign minister calls Philippines case ‘farce’ ahead of court ruling

HONG KONG, July 7 (UPI) — With a major international court ruling on its South China Sea claims around the corner, Beijing has stepped up its diplomatic outreach and warned the United States against intervention.

Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, advising Washington against any moves that violate China’s claimed sovereignty, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported.

Wang said Beijing is to reject the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration on the case the Philippines had filed against Chinese sovereign claims.

Wang called the case a “farce,” according to Xinhua.

Wang’s dismissive tone, however, contrasts with other measures top Chinese politicians have taken to convince foreign diplomats and reporters their claims to the disputed Spratly Islands are legitimate.

Ex-foreign affairs official Dai Bingguo made it clear on Tuesday Beijing will reject The Hague’s jurisdiction, and others have lobbied individual countries like Belarus and Pakistan, CNBC reported.

Bonnie Glaser, the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC the Chinese “do care very much, particularly the possibility that their nine-dash line claim could be ruled inconsistent with the [United Nations] Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

“The fact that the Chinese are trying to rally support from every country that they can regardless of how far afield or how small, demonstrates that the Chinese do care about their reputation and image,” Glaser said.

U.S. officials have said Washington could respond to Chinese nonobservance of the court ruling with increased freedom-of-navigation patrols close to the islands.

China has vowed in turn to “firmly safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights and firmly safeguard the peace and stability.”

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