China’s Sovereignty over South China Seas
History and law back China’s sovereignty in South China Sea dispute
The Chinese government says it will absolutely uphold its legitimate maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea
By An Baijia, Fu Jing, Chen Yingqun and Pan Zhongming4:48PM BST 27 Jul 2016
The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China on 13 July published a white paper titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea”.
Following is the summary of the white paper:
I. Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) are China’s inherent territory. The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back to over 2,000 years ago.
China is the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them.
China’s sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law.
After the end of the Second World War, China recovered and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao which were invaded and illegally occupied by Japan during its war of aggression against China.
Nanhai Zhudao have been widely recognised as part of China’s territory by the international community after the end of the Second World War
China drew the map on which the dotted line is marked. This map was officially published and made known to the world by the Chinese government in 1948.
The People’s Republic of China, since its founding, has further upheld its sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea.
China has never ceased carrying out activities such as patrolling and law enforcement, resources development and scientific survey on Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters.
Nanhai Zhudao have been widely recognised as part of China’s territory by the international community after the end of the Second World War. Many countries recognise that Nanhai Zhudao are part of China’s territory.
The encyclopedias, yearbooks and maps published in many countries mark Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands) as belonging to China.
II. The core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines’ invasion and illegal occupation by force, starting in the 1970s, of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao.
The Philippines has concocted many excuses to cover up this fact, and to pursue its territorial pretensions. The Philippines’ relevant claim is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law.
In addition, with the development of the international law of the sea, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between China and the Philippines regarding certain maritime areas of the South China Sea.
China firmly upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.
China and the Philippines have reached important consensus, including to peacefully settle their disputes through negotiation
Meanwhile, bearing in mind the overall interest of regional peace and stability, China has exercised great restraint, stayed committed to peacefully settling relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea, and made tireless efforts to this end.
In doing so, China and the Philippines have reached important consensus, including to peacefully settle through negotiation their relevant disputes in the South China Sea; to exercise restraint in handling relevant disputes and refrain from taking actions that may lead to an escalation; to commit themselves to pursuing practical maritime co-operation and joint development; and to work to ensure that the relevant disputes should not affect the healthy growth of bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea region.
In 2002, China and the ten ASEAN Member States signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in which the parties solemnly “undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned”.
III. The Philippines, turning a blind eye to bilateral consensus, has repeatedly taken moves that complicate the relevant disputes, gradually intensified the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.
The Philippines built military facilities on some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao it has invaded and illegally occupied, deliberately destroyed survey markers set up by China, and attempted to illegally occupy China’s Ren’ai Jiao by using a military vessel illegally run aground at it.
The Philippines also has territorial pretensions on China’s Huangyan Dao and attempted to occupy it illegally, deliberately causing the Huangyan Dao Incident.
The Philippines has intruded into relevant maritime areas of China’s Nansha Qundao to carry out illegal oil and gas exploratory drilling and bidding. The Philippines has repeatedly harassed and attacked Chinese fishermen and fishing boats conducting routine fishing operations.
The Philippines built military facilities on some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao
In January 2013, the then government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration. By doing so, the Philippines has violated its standing agreement with China to settle the relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, has violated China’s right to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and has abused the UNCLOS dispute settlement procedures.
The Philippines has distorted facts, misinterpreted laws and concocted a pack of lies, in an attempt to deny China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.
The Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines’ unilateral request has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it are null and void and have no binding force.
China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China does not accept or recognise those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards.
IV. China is an important force for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, China adheres to the position of settling disputes through negotiation and consultation and managing differences through rules and mechanisms.
China endeavors to achieve win-win outcomes through mutually beneficial co-operation, and is committed to working with other countries in the region, to making the South China Sea a sea of peace, co-operation and friendship.
Chinese history is indisputable.