Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing will never compromise on its sovereignty ahead of an international court hearing over the territorial dispute with its neighbors.
“No foreign country… should expect us to swallow the bitter pill of harm to our national sovereignty, security or development interests,” Xi told ranks of top officials during the ruling Communist Party’s 95th anniversary on Friday.
He noted that the Communist Party should maintain full power all over China, strengthen military and play a greater role in the world.
“We will not show up at other people’s front doors to flex our muscles. That does not show strength or scare anyone,” Xi also said in an apparent reference to US military build-up in the disputed region.
The remarks came as a little-known international tribunal based in The Hague has said it would hand down a ruling over the South China Sea on July 12.
The case, which was brought by the Philippines, challenges China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
China said the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) does not have jurisdiction over the issue and boycotted the proceedings.
Experts say the ruling by the PCA, international tribunal for the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations, risks further inflaming tensions between the Philippines and China.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement on Wednesday that the Philippines’ “unilateral lodging of the South China Sea arbitration case is contrary to international law.”
He also said that Beijing would not accept any forced dispute resolution.
In early 2013, Manila lodged the suit against Beijing contesting China’s sweeping claims to most of the South China Sea. However, China has refused to participate in any hearings and says it will not comply with any decisions by the tribunal.
Beijing has long-standing disputes over maritime territory in the South China Sea with other regional states such as Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, which also claim territory in the region.
Washington has sided with China’s rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.