Beijing says it has right to air defences in South China Sea after ruling blow

A senior Chinese official has said China has the right to set up an air defence zone over territory it claims in the South China Sea. The statement from Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin comes a day after an international tribunal said there was no legal basis for China’s claims. In the 497-page ruling, judges also found that Chinese law enforcement patrols had risked colliding with Philippine fishing vessels in parts of the sea and caused irreparable damage to coral reefs with construction work. Beijing, which boycotted the case brought by the Philippines, has said it will not abide by any ruling.

Beijing will not step back, and will not allow what it sees as a wolf-pack scheme to succeed.

China Daily newspaper

State news agency Xinhua has been referring to the court as a “law-abusing tribunal”. A cartoon published by the national TV station CCTV shows a sad panda in the dock and a one-eyed judge presiding from above. The US comes into this despite not taking a position on the individual territorial disputes (China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia all lay claim to parts of the sea). It has, however, been carrying out what it calls ‘freedom of navigation patrols’ through the waters, effectively rejecting China’s claim to territorial waters around its artificial islands. It is also a treaty ally of the Philippines.