MANILA, Philippines — The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies reiterated its opposition to the militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea.
The ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States maintained their commitment to maintaining a rules-based maritime order based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“We consider the July 12, 2016 award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal under the UNCLOS as a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea,” the G7 joint communique read.
The UN-backed arbitral tribunal based in the Hague, Netherlands had ruled that China’s nine-dash line claim does not have a legal basis and that Beijing violated its commitment under the UNCLOS for building artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Beijing, however, refused to honor the ruling of the arbitral tribunal and insisted that they have indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.
The Philippines, under the Duterte administration, decided to set aside the ruling in settling the maritime dispute.