An arbitration court ruled on Tuesday that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and that it has breached the sovereign rights of the Philippines with its actions there, infuriating a defiant Beijing.
China, which has boycotted the hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, vowed again to ignore the ruling and said its armed forces would defend its sovereignty and maritime interests.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency said shortly before the ruling was announced that a Chinese civilian aircraft successfully carried out calibration tests on two new airports in the disputed Spratly Islands.
And China's Defence Ministry announced that a new guided missile destroyer was formally commissioned at a naval base on the southern island province of Hainan, which has responsibility for the South China Sea.
"This award represents a devastating legal blow to China's jurisdictional claims in the South China Sea," Ian Storey, of Singapore's ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, told Reuters.
"China will respond with fury, certainly in terms of rhetoric and possibly through more aggressive actions at sea."
Finding for the Philippines on a number of issues, the panel said there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within its so-called nine-dash line, which covers much of the South China Sea.
It said China had interfered with traditional Philippine fishing rights at Scarborough Shoal, one of the hundreds of reefs and shoals dotting the sea, and had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights by exploring for oil and gas near the Reed Bank, another feature in the region.
China does ot accept or recognize 'invalid' Hague court decision on South China sea, the Chinese Foreign ministry stated on Tuesday.
"With regard to the award rendered on 12 July 2016 by the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration established at the unilateral request of the Republic of the Philippines…the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights to South China Sea resources.
"The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’," the court said in a press release.
The court noted that the Chinese claims were contrary to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea.
"Accordingly, the Tribunal concluded that, to the extent China had historic rights to resources in the waters of the South China Sea, such rights were extinguished to the extent they were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided for in the Convention," the court said.