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English>>Foreign Affairs

South China Sea issue not major concern of Western countries

By Chen Shilei (Xinhua)    08:11, June 09, 2015
China firmly upholds her sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING, June 8 -- Leaders of the world's seven industrialized countries on Monday expressed concern about unilateral actions to change the status quo in the South China Sea.

The Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States -- voiced their worries in a declaration released at the end of their two-day summit earlier in the day.

Although the G7 leaders stopped short of mentioning any specific country in the declaration, it is obvious that the Western countries pointed fingers at China -- the largest stakeholder in the South China Sea issue.

In fact, no member state of the G7 group is a party to the issue, and unreasonable interference in maritime disputes between China and some Asian countries will not only harm relations between the West and China, but also threaten peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

First, there is no need for China to adopt "any unilateral actions" to "change the status quo" of South China Sea islands because they are legally and historically owned by China.

China's sovereignty and claims of rights over islands in the South China Sea have been formed in the long course of history and upheld by successive Chinese governments, which has adequate and solid historical and legal basis.

Second, what China is doing on the South China Sea islands including construction activities on some garrisoned islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea is totally within its sovereignty. They are lawful, reasonable and justified, which does not affect or target any other countries.

China, a staunch force for peace and stability in the region, is committed to a path of peaceful development, a defense policy that is defensive in nature, and a foreign policy of building friendship and partnership with its neighbors.

In fact, China, as a major country, is conducting construction activities on some South China Sea islands at a pace and with a scale befitting its international responsibilities and obligations in such fields as maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, navigation safety and fishery services in the South China Sea.

Any claims that China's activities will undermine "the freedom of aviation, the freedom of navigation and the orderly process of trade and global commerce" are unfounded, because these activities, on the contrary, will facilitate joint response to challenges on the sea and provide more guarantees for the safety of navigation.

Third, on solving maritime disputes, China and countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have identified a"dual-track" approach on the South China Sea, which calls for solving disputes through negotiations and consultation directly between concerned parties, and asks China and ASEAN member states to work together to maintain peace and stability.

Last but not least, neither Japan -- though its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been actively raising the South China Sea issue at the G7 summit -- nor other G7 member countries are parties related to the issue.

It is advisable that Japan, which still owes sincere apologies to the victims of its wartime atrocities, shoulder responsibilities to maintain regional security and stability instead of backing ridiculous and unreasonable claims by some countries for South China Sea islands.

It is also advisable that Washington not let the South China Sea issue damage its relations with China -- one of the most important bilateral ties in the world.

Other Western countries, with their economies still influenced by the global downturn, should refrain from letting the South China Sea issue hinder their close trade and economic ties with China, the world's major engine for current global economic growth. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Liang Jun)

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