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US expertise gives it powerful role in maritime politics

(Global Times)

09:04, August 29, 2012

(Global Times/ Sun Ying)

The US has held many seminars on the history of the South China Sea. US scholars are familiar with relevant historical data. It's true that China has plenty of historical records of activities in the South China Sea. However, many relevant historical documents can be found in US libraries.

Decades ago, afraid of the devastation of war, some Chinese people transported many historical documents to developed countries, especially the US. The US has been collecting documents without interruption. Therefore, we cannot say that US scholars know little about the history in the South China Sea.

The reason why US scholars don't want to talk about this is not that they lack basic knowledge of this area, but that many archival records are not in the interests of the US. China has an advantage over other countries in the South China Sea in the records of its activities in historical documents. Therefore, although it seems that the US has taken a neutral position, in fact it is biased against China.

But the US has not got involved into the specific legal issues. Until now there have only been some diplomatic statements from the US. Of course, we oppose any external intervention. However, we cannot come to the conclusion that the US work in this area is illegal or that it doesn't conform to accepted international practice.

If China and the Philippines, or China and Japan, refer their territorial disputes to arbitration by international tribunal or a UN expert group, the article in the International Maritime Law, which mentions that a third country should be invited before its mediation of disputes, will become operative. At present, territorial disputes haven't been taken to the court. Although we don't welcome external interventions, we can neither say that these interventions are illegal nor allege that the US is short of experts who know international maritime law. This argument misses the point.
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