-Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying disclosed that at least 47 countries support China’s position against the Philippines
-China claims that the number increases day by day
-The Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to issue its decision on China’s nine-dash line claim against the Philippines over the South China Sea soon
A survey conducted by the Phoenix Chinese News revealed that China has strength in numbers in its quest for the South China Sea. In a daily news briefing, spokesperson Hua claims that the number is growing by the day given that some countries' statements have not yet been publicly reported.
Although she cannot give an exact figure, Hua believes that the number is not relevant since "any unbiased country, institution and individual will stand for China's just position without a second thought as long as they hold an objective and impartial stance and see through the historical background of the South China Sea issue as well as the nature of the arbitration case."
With the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations looming ahead, China maintains a hardline stance. It insists that it is not bound by the ruling the international tribunal as it has indisputable sovereignty over the contested waters. Hua stated that respecting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) does not mean accepting the arbitration procedure initiated by the Philippines.
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"As a signatory to UNCLOS, China always respects, upholds and abides by its provisions including those on the arbitration procedures. But I want to stress that provisions of UNCLOS are inseparable as a whole, the key to respecting UNCLOS is to fully interpret and apply its provisions with good will and in its entirety," the Chinese official said.
Despite this, the Philippines' unilateral act of instituting the proceedings was lauded by the United States, the Group of Seven industrialized nations, which includes Canada and France, and other multilateral organizations as a peaceful measure to address the territorial dispute.