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China says DOC not tool for Philippines to whitewash wrongdoings

(Xinhua)    13:25, May 09, 2015
A formation of the Nanhai Fleet of China's Navy on Saturday finished a three-day patrol of the Nansha islands in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - China on Friday said the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is not a tool for the Philippines to whitewash its wrongdoings, urging the Philippines to stop unfounded accusation and hyping of China's construction work.

"The Philippines' willful abuse and distortion of the DOC is in itself a breach and damage to the DOC," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Friday, when asked to comment on the Philippine officials' criticism of China's construction on some maritime features of the Nansha Islands.

They also said what the Philippines has done on some occupied islands and reefs are just minor "repairs and maintenance" allowed under the DOC and that the Philippines built the airstrip on Zhongye Dao before the signing of the DOC in 2002.

"Illegal construction is illegal construction. Its illegal nature will not change no matter how it is covered up," Hua said.

She said a legal principle states that "Ex injuria jus non oritur" (Law does not arise from injustice).

Just like its construction work on all the illegally occupied islands and reefs, the so-called "repairs and maintenance" by the Philippines, whether massive or minor, old or new, are illegal and invalid, as they are conducted on China's islands and reefs grabbed by the Philippines since 1970s, she said.

"The Philippines keeps vowing that its actions are totally in line with the DOC. Is that true?" Hua asked.

"As long as we take a close look at the DOC, we will see that the Declaration focuses on efforts to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, keep the situation in check, and enhance practical cooperation on the sea," Hua said.

Peace, amity and cooperation is the quintessence of the DOC, which reflects the political desire and wisdom of China and ASEAN countries to keep the situation stable and promote friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation,she said.

The DOC has no direct bearing on issues concerning the sovereignty of maritime features, nor does it empower the Philippines to encroach upon China's Nansha Islands, Hua said.

There is not a single item in the DOC that can justify the Philippines' action of illegally taking away China's islands and reefs before 2002, or back up the Philippines' illegal expansion and construction on the relevant maritime features,she said.

Hua said the Chinese side has repeatedly stated its position on China's construction work on some of its garrisoned maritime features of the Nansha Islands.

In response to the Philippines' remarks void of factual and jurisprudential basis, Hua said she would like to underline a few points.

China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters is fully supported by historical and jurisprudential evidence, Hua said.

In accordance with the series of international treaties defining the boundary of the Philippines, the Nansha Islands have never been part of the Philippines. Since the 1970s, the Philippines has illegally seized by force one after another maritime features of China's Nansha Islands in disregard of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations.

That is the root and direct cause of relevant disputes between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, Hua said.

As for China's construction on some maritime features of the Nansha Islands, Hua said one aim of the construction is to better fulfill China's international responsibility and obligation in maritime search and rescue, navigation safety, ocean science and research, etc.

Hua cited an example in February 1987 when the 14th Session of the Assembly of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO adopted a global sea level observing plan, entrusting China with the building of five out of the 200 ocean observation stations across the world, including those on the Nansha Islands.

As for the scale of construction, China, as a major country, assumes due international responsibility and obligation. The scale of China's construction work should be commensurate with its responsibility and obligation as a major country and meet actual needs, she said.

The DOC requires the full and effective observation of all signatories, and peace and stability would not be possible without the joint efforts of all parties concerned, she said.

"We urge the Philippine side to respect China's territorial sovereignty, reflect upon its own actions, stop the unfounded accusation and hyping of China's construction work, and meet China halfway to jointly uphold peace and stability of the region," she said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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