08:12 GMT +322 February 2018
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    An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Taiwanese military plane shows the view of Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, at the South China Sea, March 23, 2016

    China White Paper Slams Philippines' South China Sea Claim as 'Illegal'

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    China’s Foreign Ministry hit out at the Philippines on Wednesday for what Beijing said were illegal attempts to tighten the grip on inherent Chinese territories in the South China Sea.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — China’s official stance was set out in an extensive white paper published a day after an international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, which is in a long-standing dispute with Beijing over overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea.

    "The Philippines' illegal claim has no historical or legal basis," China said in its policy paper, accusing the neighbor of "attempts to entrench its illegal occupation of some islands and reefs."

    Beijing bashed the Philippines for turning to the Hague tribunal despite its earlier commitments to settle the dispute out of court, saying the Philippines' "unilateral initiation of arbitration is an act of bad faith."

    China lays claims to a multitude of rocky islands and reefs in the South China Sea, specifically the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas and are claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

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