Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. Pic: AP.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president says his country’s case at an international tribunal against China’s sweeping territorial claims is not meant to provoke the regional giant but to peacefully defend the national territory.

President Benigno Aquino III said Monday that Manila resorted to arbitration “to resolve the dispute consistent with a peaceful policy and in conformity with international law.”

The Philippines submitted to the arbitral tribunal in The Hague on Sunday 4,000 pages of analysis and documentary evidence to defend its territorial claims, ignoring Beijing’s warning it will damage ties.

China says the Philippines should honor its commitment to settle the dispute through direct negotiations and that it will not participate in the proceedings.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims across the busy South China Sea.