U.S. welcomes arbitration decision against China's claims in South China Sea -official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday welcomed the decision of an arbitration court in the Netherlands that it has jurisdiction to hear some territorial claims the Philippines filed against China over disputed parts of the South China Sea, a senior U.S. defense official said. "We of course welcome the decision of the panel," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This demonstrates the relevance of international law to the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea." The official added: "It demonstrates that sovereign claims are not necessarily indisputable and it shows that judging issues like this on the basis of international law and international practice are a viable way of, at a minimum, managing territorial conflicts if not resolving them." (Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Sandra Maler)