World

Arbitration panel accepts jurisdiction in South China Sea dispute between Philippines, China

In this April 8, 2008, file photo, guided missile destroyer USS Lassen arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay in Shanghai, China, for a scheduled port visit. Just two days after the USS Lassen sailed past one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea in a challenge to Chinese sovereignty claims, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun said Thursday that China will take "all necessary" measures in response to any future U.S. Navy incursions into what it considers its territorial waters around the islands. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

In this April 8, 2008, file photo, guided missile destroyer USS Lassen arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay in Shanghai, China, for a scheduled port visit. Just two days after the USS Lassen sailed past one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea in a challenge to Chinese sovereignty claims, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun said Thursday that China will take "all necessary" measures in response to any future U.S. Navy incursions into what it considers its territorial waters around the islands. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)  (The Associated Press)

An international arbitration panel says it has jurisdiction to take on a dispute between the Philippines and China over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration says the case revolves around underlying rights and entitlements and "the status of certain maritime features" in the South China Sea.

The court, which conducts its arbitration hearings behind closed doors, says the Philippines has stressed it is not asking arbitrators "to decide the question of sovereignty over maritime features in the South China Sea that are claimed by both the Philippines and China" or rule on maritime boundaries in the region.

China insists the panel has no jurisdiction and has said it won't participate in any arbitration.