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China reasserts claims over South China Sea

Gorkha Post

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BEIJING — China has insisted on Wednesday that it had sovereignty over the South China Sea, defying an international tribunal ruling that its claims to a vast swathe of the waters had no legal basis.

China was ‘the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited’ the islands of the South China Sea islands and their waters, and had ‘continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them’, Beijing said in a white paper on settling disputes with the Philippines, which brought the case in The Hague.

The white paper said China wanted to settle its regional dispute with the Philippines ‘on the basis of respecting historical facts’.

But, the document is in direct contradiction to the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Tuesday, which said that ‘there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources’.

The UN-backed tribunal also said that any ‘historic rights’ to resources in the waters of the South China Sea were ‘extinguished’ when China signed up to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

AFP

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Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza after blast wounds four soldiers

Agency Press France

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GAZA CITY — Israeli fighter jets struck the Gaza Strip on Saturday after four soldiers were wounded when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border with the Palestinian enclave.

The explosion earlier Saturday, which left two of the Israeli soldiers severely injured, was one of the most serious incidents on the border of the Hamas-ruled enclave since the Islamist movement and Israel fought a war in 2014.

In response Israel’s army said “fighter jets targeted six military targets in Gaza belonging to Hamas, including: a terror tunnel in the Zaytun area and military compounds near Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis”.

The army then reported a “launch was identified from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a security conference in Munich called the Gaza border incident “very serious” and pledged to ‘respond appropriately’.

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A Palestinian security source said the Israeli air strikes hit three bases belonging to Hamas in the east of the blockaded Gaza enclave.

Two Palestinians were injured in the raids, Palestinian medical sources said.

Earlier in the day the army said “two soldiers were severely wounded, one moderately and one slightly” when an improvised explosive device blew up along the border fence with Gaza.

None of the soldiers’ lives were in danger, a spokesman clarified.

In response Israeli forces said a tank quickly opened fire at an “observation post” in southern Gaza, causing no injuries on the Palestinian side.

Palestinian security sources said the explosion took place east of the city of Khan Yunis.

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