Thursday, September 8, 2016

Barack Obama warns Beijing over 'binding' South China Sea ruling

US President Barack Obama warned Beijing on Thursday that it could not ignore a tribunal's ruling, rejecting its sweeping claims to the South China Sea, driving tensions higher in a territorial row that threatens regional security.

The dispute has raised fears of military confrontation between the world's superpowers, with China determined to cement control of the strategically vital waters despite a July verdict that its claims have no legal basis. "The landmark arbitration ruling in July, which is binding, helped to clarify maritime rights in the region," Obama told Southeast Asian leaders at a summit in Laos.

AP "I recognise this raises tensions but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions and promote diplomacy and stability." The verdict by an international tribunal in The Hague said China's claims to most of the waters — through which $5 trillion in global shipping trade passes annually — had no legal basis. It also said that a massive burst of artificial island-building activity undertaken by China in recent years in a bid to bolster its claims was illegal.

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