Their acts, against the rule of law and the basic principles of international law and relations, obstructed relevant sides to manage maritime tension and seek a peaceful settlement. Their blind eye to the basic facts also exposed the inglorious role played by these external powers in the entire political farce.
Ever since the administration of Benigno Aquino III filed the South China Sea arbitration, the US, Australia, Japan and some other countries accused China as a violator of international law and requested China carry out the so-called award.
But this tough talk only exposed their dirty strategic motives. Such tricks are not able to cover the legitimacy of China’s stances, nor alter the strong support to China from those international forces standing for justice.
It’s worth mentioning that the above countries adopted a completely different attitude when themselves were involved in issues related with the international rule of law. The sharp contrast speaks for their hypocrisy and arbitrariness.
For years, with double standards on international law, some Western countries have set a plate of bad precedents. They supported international judicial rules that they can benefit from, but trampled on those not in favor of them.
As the strongest maritime power in the world, the US, worried about a possible cripple of its marine hegemony, never ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While evading its obligations, it is still enjoying the rights under the UNCLOS.
The US has never been accused under UNCLOS because the Washington has never ratified the law, one article on Foreign Affairs wrote in an ironic tone.
Back in 1980s, Nicaragua charged the US with taking military and paramilitary actions in and against Nicaragua and violating the sovereignty of Nicaragua in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua and awarded reparations to Nicaragua. But the US, with a tough attitude, refused to participate in the proceedings and rejected the verdict delivered by the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN.
The US later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the UN Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.
The US argued that the Court did not have jurisdiction, with then US ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick dismissing the Court as a semi-legal, semi-juridical, semi-political body, whose rules nations sometimes accept and sometimes don’t.
The same goes for Australia, which always wants to follow the “international police” posture. When concluding maritime rights treaties with Timor-Leste, the Australian government unilaterally rejected such articles concerning maritime delimitation and third-party dispute settlement procedure. Without any other options, Timor-Leste had to file for arbitration to overrule the validity of the treaty.
In order to stop Timor-Leste from initiating the arbitration, the Australian intelligence agency resorted to despicable actions such as searching the legal representative office of Timor-Leste in Australia, detaining documents and preventing witnesses from appearing before the tribunal.
Japan also did not wait too long before joining in the clique of violating the international law. Its whale-hunt in the Antarctica was ruled as breaching the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling by the ICJ, which ordered Japan to stop issuing whaling permits in the South Pole.
Though talking a good talk about respecting the verdict, the Japanese government did not match its actions with words. No effective measures were taken to curb domestic whaling. Even its ally Australia could not stand it and condemned Japan for violating international law.
In sharp contrast to these Western countries, China has always staunchly supported the authority of international law. At the commemoration marking the 60th anniversary of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence”, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that all countries should advance the rule of law in international relations together.
“We should urge all parties to abide by international law and well-recognized basic principles governing international relations and use widely applicable rules to tell right from wrong and pursue peace and development,” Xi said in his speech.
This not only is a solemn commitment of China to the global community in safeguarding and building the international rule of law, but also expounds that the fundamental key to build international rule of law is to tell right from wrong, stop disputes and uphold win-win collaboration by adopting widely-applicable rules, instead of encouraging hegemony in the name of the international law and stirring up conflicts to stray away the international rule of law.
The law cannot execute itself. Unlike Western countries who selectively apply international law, China always applies the spirit of the international rule of law in its diplomatic practice. So far, China has established over 23,000 bilateral agreements and joined more than 400 multilateral treaties.
Moreover, China has participated in almost all inter-governmental organizations and demarcated nearly 90 percent of land borderlines with 12 out of its 14 land neighbors through negotiation and consultation.
For China, equal treatment is the cornerstone in its diplomacy regardless of the territorial size and national strength of the other country. China will never bully any state.
Regarding the international rule of law, the US and some other countries can hardly qualify as a “teacher” to China. In addition, they should look back to their past mistakes, abandon their long-upheld hegemony, egoism, hypocrisy and double standard and implement the basic norms of the international law and international relations through practical actions.
Source: People’s Daily/News Ghana