Satellite image from June 28, 2015 show China's reclamation project in Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. 

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines rejected China’s arguments on historic sovereignty over the East Sea during the first round of hearings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, the Netherlands on November 24.

According to the Singapore-based Straits Times, that deputy spokesperson of the Philippine President Abigail Valte said Manila’s lawyer Paul Reichler argued that China’s “purported historic rights” over the strategic waterway “do not exist” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Another lawyer of the Philippines, Andrew Loewenstein, stressed that Beijing has failed to satisfy the requirements to establish the claims.

Loewenstein said that China had not been in “exclusive control for a long period of time” over the East Sea.

He presented to the court eight maps, including one dating back to the Ming Dynasty, that showed China’s territory had never included the areas covered by its nine-dash line.

The PCA started its hearings of the Philippines’ arbitral case against China over the disputed territory in the East Sea on November 24 which are held behind closed doors but observers from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are allowed in.

The hearings are slated to last till November 30 and the court expects to issue a decision on the case in 2016.

Previously, the PCA had rejected China’s argument that The Hague-based tribunal does not have authority to rule on the case and declared its full rights.-VNA