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      3. China to the West: Stop Meddling

        • 来源:北京周报
        • 关键字:China ,West,peace
        • 发布时间:2016-05-26 11:05

          Editor’s Note: The British newspaper The Times published a signed article by Liu Xiaoming,the Chinese Ambassador to Britain,on May 4 entitled “Stop Meddling in the South China Sea.” The full text is as follows:

          The issue of the South China Sea is being ramped up by those in the United States and the UK who accuse China of causing tension in the region.They proclaim the principle of free navigation and overflight but in reality their prejudice and partiality will only increase tension.

          Their suggestion that China’s “hardline” position about the sea increases friction is not based on fact.We were the first to discover and name its islands and reefs and the first to govern them.Despite this,more than 40 are now illegally occupied by other countries.Our talks with neighbors to resolve our differences show how committed we are to regional peace and stability.

          China’s construction on its own islands and reefs is a matter for us.These actions are not targeted at any other country.Apart from minimum defense facilities,the building works are primarily civilian in purpose.

          The claim that there is a threat to the freedom of navigation and overflight in the sea is false.Is there a single case in which this freedom has been affected? More than 100,000 vessels pass through the sea unimpeded every year.Is the freedom of navigation that every country is entitled to really the issue? Or is it the “freedom” of certain countries to flex military muscle and moor warships on other nations’ doorsteps and fly military jets over other countries‘ territorial airspace? If it is the latter,such “freedom” should be condemned as a flagrantly hostile act and stopped.

          Some appear eager to label China as “not abiding by international law” and “undermining the rule-based international system” because it rejects the arbitration imposed on it under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.China made a clear declaration in accordance with this law in 2006 to exclude compulsory arbitration on sovereign disputes and maritime delimitation.More than 30 other countries,including the UK,have made similar declarations.

          Some countries outside the South China Sea claim to be taking no side in sovereignty disputes,but they are actually doing all they can to get involved.The military vessels and planes they sent to the region and the accusations they throw at China only encourage certain countries in the region to behave even more recklessly,increasing the tension.

          China and the UK have co-hosted events marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.Some of his characters are good at stirring up enmity.But they can fool only their victims in the play,never the audience.Likewise,the world will see clearly who is making trouble in the South China Sea.These nations should desist from meddling and muddling.Such actions pose a threat to regional stability and world peace.

          The Philippines’s Maritime Claims Unjustified

          Editor’s Notes: In response to arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines on territorial disputes over islands in the South China Sea,Ouyang Yujing,Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry,elaborated China’s stance on Sovereignty over the islands and waters at a news briefing in Beijing on May 6.An edited transcript of his opening remarks is as follows:

          The crux of the China-Philippines disputes in the South China Sea is the Philippines’ illegal occupation of the islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Islands since the 1970s and the two countries’ maritime delineation issue that took place after the establishment of the new international law of the sea.

          China has historically established its jurisdiction over the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.Japan occupied the islands in question during World War II (WWII).After the Japanese invaders‘ unconditional surrender at the end of WWII,China restored its sovereignty over Nansha and Xisha islands in the South China Sea.China’s restoration of the two island chains was also acknowledged in international documents including the Cairo Declaration (1943) and the Potsdam Proclamation (1945) which laid the foundation for the building of the post-WWII world order.China then issued a map of its territories in the South China Sea and demarcated a border surrounding the islands after the end of WWII.

          In the following decades,there had been no opposition to China’s sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea because many neighboring countries were aware of China’s claim over those islands.

          China and the Philippines have reached a number of bilateral agreements including joint statements and communiqués on resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation.

          In 2002,China and countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,including the Philippines,signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC),which clearly stipulates in Article IV that disputes be settled through negotiation and consultation by countries directly concerned.

          These two points constitute the commitment undertaken by China and the Philippines to settle these issues.

          The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has nothing to do with issues of territorial sovereignty,“ Ouyang explained.“As for issues on maritime delineation,the UNCLOS allows optional exceptions to the applicability of compulsory dispute settlement proceedings such as compulsory arbitration.China made a declaration in 2006,excluding disputes concerning maritime delimitation from arbitration proceedings.

          Therefore,the Philippines‘ claims are not suitable for compulsory arbitration at all,and there is no basis for the formation of the tribunal.

          No matter what the verdict from the arbitration case is,it will be unlawful and invalid.China will not accept or recognize it.

          By not accepting or participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines,China is upholding the sanctity of international law,including that of the UNCLOS.

          (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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