China's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that more than 40 countries have backed Beijing's position on an international court case over the disputed South China Sea.

The case brought before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague by the Philippines contests the legality of Beijing's "nine-dash line" claim to most of the South China Sea. China has refused to participate in the case and has vowed to ignore the ruling, which may come later this month or in early June.

Beijing has launched a charm offensive to shore up its position in the South China Sea ahead of the court's decision, which is widely expected to rule in favor of Manila.