Japan and the United States have urged China to respect the ruling of an international tribunal rejecting Beijing's expansive claims in the South China Sea, as Monday marked five years since the landmark decision.
China's failure to comply with the ruling "undermines the rule of law as a fundamental value of the international community," Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in a statement released Monday.
In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China has no historic rights to resources in the South China Sea based on its expansive, self-proclaimed "nine-dash line."
The case was brought to the court by the Philippines and the decision invalidated China's claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.
Motegi said China's action not to comply with the ruling "is against the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law" including the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the rules-based maritime order in South China Sea is under greater threat than anywhere else, and called on China "to abide by its obligations under international law" and "cease its provocative behavior."
In a statement released Sunday, Blinken urged China to also "take steps to reassure the international community that it is committed to the rules-based maritime order that respects the rights of all countries, big and small."
The Japanese foreign minister said Japan "remains seriously concerned" about the situation in the waters and reiterated "strong opposition" to unilateral attempts to change the status quo of the region by force or coercion.
Motegi also said Japan "highly appreciates" the Philippines' renewed commitment toward a peaceful resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea, citing President Rodrigo Duterte's statement at the U.N. General Assembly last year.
The ruling was "beyond compromise and beyond the reach of passing governments to dilute, diminish or abandon," Duterte told world leaders, adding, "We firmly reject attempts to undermine it."