Support Rule of Law in West PH Sea Arbitration

"The arbitration tribunal which clearly has been expanding and over-stretching its jurisdiction beyond the limit has no jurisdiction at all [over the South China Sea disputes]..."

Beijing will not take a "single step back" in the contested South China Sea, state-run media said Friday, despite reports of USA naval patrols close to its artificial islands ahead of a tribunal ruling on the dispute.

In a phone call on Wednesday, Wang told Kerry the USA should stick to its promises not to take sides in disputes, according to China's foreign ministry.

Chinese media on Tuesday said Beijing was ready for a "military confrontation" with the United States in the region.

The People's Daily editorial comes as Beijing ramps up efforts to assert its stance ahead of a ruling by an worldwide tribunal in a case filed by the Philippines challenging China's claims to most of the South China Sea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Dutch city of The Hague is set to make its final decision on Tuesday in the case between the Philippines and China.

Regardless of any outcome of the ruling, Wang said China will "firmly safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights" in the South China Sea, the agency added.

In an editorial Friday the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling Communist Party and often takes a nationalistic tone, said: "If the United States and the Philippines act on impulse and carry out flagrant provocation, China will not take a single step back".

HONG KONG - US destroyers had sailed close to Chinese-held reefs and islands in the disputed South China Sea in recent weeks, US naval officials said on Thursday.

Japanese officials say China has increased its military activity in the sea and air, obliging it to nearly double the scrambling of its aircraft to engage Chinese jets over the past three months.

The US State Department confirmed that Mr Kerry had spoken to Mr Wang, without providing details.

China accuses the USA of interfering in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

The Philippines has asked the tribunal to rule on a number of issues, particularly on the validity of China's nine-dash line and on the maritime entitlements generated by various land features in the South China Sea.

Ahead of that ruling, China's leaders have come up with a variety of ways to try to discredit the tribunal and its upcoming decision.

Crew members take part in a fire drill on China's largest and most advanced patrol vessel Haixun 01 on theSouth China Sea, April 4, 2016.

China's sea claims also create conflict with the US, which maintains freedom of navigation for its ships and aircraft under global norms. Ambassador Yparraguirre emphasized in her statement, pointing out that, "This [arbitral] award will be the rule of law on this dispute". The island is administered and occupied by the Republic of China, but other countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and the People's Republic of China, also claim sovereignty.

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