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Commentary: Muddling the waters in South China Sea doomed to fail

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)    14:49, March 10, 2016

People's Daily published a commentary "Muddling the waters in South China Sea doomed to fail" on March 10. The article reiterates China's position on the South China Sea and criticizes the US' intention to "militarize" the area, echoing Foreign Minister Wang Yi's remarks during a news conference on March 8.

The full text of the article is as follows:

During the two sessions, a number of foreign media focused on the South China Sea issue. Some people over-exaggerate China's behavior within its sovereignty along with the usual prejudices. At the same time, some people spare no effort to hype and jeopardize arbitration. China’s responses are reasonable and in accordance with international law; that is, "China is not the first country to deploy weapons on the Nansha Islands nor has deployed the most weapons, not even the one that has conducted the most frequent military activities. China cannot be accused of militarization. The label is more suited to some other countries."

It is not difficult to understand the truth. China is building necessary defensive facilities on its own islands and reefs in accordance with international law. In addition, China has built more civilian facilities, in order to provide public goods to the international community. Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea will not be threatened, but will be better maintained thanks to these facilities. In the case raised by the Philippine Government, China already released an official statement in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, excluding compulsory arbitration. The continuing illegal, untrustworthy and unreasonable behavior of the Philippines will not change the objective and fair views of the international community, revealing the plot and political purposes behind this farce.

China will continue to maintain the integrity of its national sovereignty and territories with determination. We only want to defend our inherited territories and will not seek any new claims that do not belong to China. China’s policy on territory is clear, anyone who dares to challenge China on territory issues is doomed to fail. At the same time, China is willing to resolve disputes with its neighbors over territory and maritime rights and interests peacefully through dialogue and negotiation, and to maintain peace and stability in the region with its coastal states. China's stance reflects its sincerity and wisdom to solve the problem. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently told media, "We do not believe in war, we still believe that a solution through peaceful negotiation is a better way to address the dispute."

Recently, a few US politicians and experts mentioned China's "militarization" of the South China Sea on various occasions, trying to describe China as an expansionist nation. Under this premise, the US has repeatedly dispatched advanced warships and airplanes to the region, with the aim of disturbing stability and arousing rioters. A New York Times’ commentary published on March 8 reads, "When the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis and four other American warships sailed into the South China Sea last week for what were described as routine exercises, the message was clear: The United States is the dominant military power in the region and plans to keep it that way. "

However, this rootless "narrative" is flawed. Even an article published on the US-based National Interest" magazine website also contends that US military presence lies in far-fetched logic. "The territorial claims of China haven’t changed since before 1949. The extent and character of China’s sovereignty claims aren’t unusual and in broad terms conform to the practice of other states with only one clear set of exceptions. Any assumption that China has somehow expanded its maritime claims because it now feels more powerful is not borne out by the facts. "

South China Sea is not an issue between China and the US. The reason that the US repeatedly stokes the South China Sea issue is because they still have strategic doubts on China's development, worrying that China will replace it one day. Some scholars have pointed out that the South China Sea issue is not the reason but the results of the competition between the US and China. By describing China as a "wolf", the US tries to pull the ASEAN nations into its own political and military embrace. Clearly, it is impossible to see the full picture of "interest list" based on this plan. The US cannot feel the aspiration of the other countries in the region either. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has stressed that countries in the region want to avoid having to choose to support or oppose a big country. Today’s competition is different from the ideology-driven Cold War period and it is not necessarily a zero-sum game.

China has been tirelessly making efforts for peace and stability in the South China Sea. Working with ASEAN countries, China has the confidence and courage to ensure peace and development in the region. If someone insists on trying to muddle the waters in South China Sea and even Asia, China will not agree, and the vast majority of countries in the region will not allow it to happen. 

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

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