BEIJING, June 13 -- China on Friday rebutted Vietnam's accusations and urged the Vietnamese side to immediately stop all forms of disruptions of China's operations.
Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, made the remarks at a media briefing on the latest development of a Chinese company's oil platform operations to the south of the Zhongjian Island of the Xisha Islands.
Yi stressed that the Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China and fall within Chinese government's effective jurisdiction.
"There is no dispute with any other country," Yi said, pointing to the fact that before the mid 1970s, the official documents, textbooks and maps of Vietnam all explicitly recognized China's sovereignty over the Xisha Islands.
In 1958, then Premier Pham Van Dong of the government of Vietnam sent a diplomatic note to Premier Zhou Enlai of the State Council of China, acknowledging that the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands all belong to China.
"Vietnam deliberately misinterprets Chinese leader's remarks and distorts facts, to which China is strongly opposed," Yi said, referring to a meeting in China between leaders of the two countries in September 1975.
During that meeting,then Chinese leader said to the visiting Vietnamese leader that China had sufficient materials to prove that the Xisha Islands and the Nansha Islands were China's territory since ancient times.
Yi said there exist disputes over a relatively large area in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam. But he said these disputes are centered around the territorial disputes over some islands of the Nansha Islands and the overlapping assertion of maritime rights and interests in part of the South China Sea, with the disputes over islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands being the core.
What leads to the disputes is that Vietnam illegally occupied 29 islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands. China always opposes Vietnam's illegal occupation and urges Vietnam to pull out all personnel and facilities from the aforementioned Chinese islands and reefs it has taken, said Yi.
He said China has unflinching resolve to safeguard the sovereignty of the Nansha Islands.
"China urges the Vietnamese side to stop bending facts and making stories that do not exist," Yi said.
He said Vietnam spread plentiful of rumors which are inconsistent with facts, attempting to create new territory disputes.
"The Vietnamese side should stop saying or doing anything about the so-called 'Xisha disputes'," Yi said at the briefing.
He said since May 2, when the Chinese company began carrying out oil and gas explorations in the coastal waters off China's Xisha Islands, China has conducted over 30 communications with Vietnam at various levels almost on a daily base.
However, he said the illegal disruption of the Vietnamese side is still continuing, including ramming Chinese government vessels and sending frogmen and other underwater agents to the area.
Yi said China will continue to communicate with the Vietnamese side and do its best to handle the current situation properly.
"The Channels for communication between China and Vietnam are open and smooth," Yi said.
He said China hopes for sound development of China-Vietnam relationship, but that does not mean giving up principles.
He demands the Vietnamese side to respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the operations of the Chinese side, withdraw all its vessels and personnel, and restore tranquility to the sea.