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History will tell the true guardian of South China Sea peace: People’s Daily

(People's Daily Online)    09:32, July 15, 2016

>>Related: People’s Daily calls for return to negotiating table to resolve South China Sea dispute

China sticks to the path of peaceful development, and the history will finally tell who is the real guardian of peace and stability in the South China Sea, People’s Daily said on Thursday, refuting those who have attempted to escalate regional tensions by capping China as “saboteur” of regional peace.

“China regards the South China Sea as a bond for peace, friendship, cooperation and development,” added the editorial published under pseudonym Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China” that is often used to express the paper's views on foreign policy.

“The history will tell who is the guardian of peace and stability in the South China Sea and who is the staunch supporter of basic norms of the international law and international relations,” the editorial stressed.

The following is the translation of the article:

China on Wednesday successfully tested two new airfields on the Nansha Islands with civil flights. Two airliners touched down for the first time on runways on Meiji Reef and Zhubi Reef, and returned to Haikou in the afternoon.

On the day before, civil calibration aircraft concluded test flights on the newly-built airports. The tests show that the airports are capable of supporting secure operation of civil aircraft.

This is a second successful test flight by China to Nansha Islands after an earlier flight to Yongshu Reef in January. It is justified and beyond reproach for China to charter passenger planes for test flights on newly-built airports within China’s territorial sovereignty.

However, those who try to stir up tension in the South China Sea cannot wait to contain China based on the so-called arbitration case. They always make irresponsible remarks and point fingers on this.

Despite of the clamor, most people can assume a serious attitude toward history and reasoned perspective on facts when reviewing the course of construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

First of all, as a major power claiming indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands, China only carried out construction on seven islands and reefs within its control. Such acts have indicated China’s maximum restraint and utmost efforts in safeguarding peace and stability in the region.

Moreover, according to relevant international law and international practices, sovereign states are independently responsible for national aviation activities, and such activities shall not be subject to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and related regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

These aviation activities conducted by China, with a civilian purpose, do not affect international public welfare agenda or the safety of international civil aviation transportation.

It falls completely within China’s sovereignty to independently conduct the calibration of the airports and test flights. The legitimate, reasonable and plausible move neither affects nor targets any country.

Last June, China voluntarily released the latest progress and purpose of the construction on relevant Nansha islands and reefs to the international community. Such confidence-building and clarification gesture fully demonstrates the transparency and legitimacy of China’s construction.

The construction done by China aims at providing better service for ships from China and other countries that pass through the South China Sea as well as meeting other civilian purposes.

When put into use, the newly built airports will significantly increase the service capability of air transportation in the South China Sea region and offer other services including aviation meteorology observation, emergency landing, maritime rescue, marine monitoring and environmental research.

Meanwhile, beacons built by China in the South China Sea can light up the way for passing merchant ships. The first hospital built by China on Nansha Islands improves the capacity for emergency humanitarian aid in the region.

As for people making groundless and vicious accusations against China, what have they done for the South China Sea? What are they doing now?

Since 1980s, the Philippines has been building military facilities on parts of Nansha Islands it illegally seized from China. During the 1990s, the Southeast Asian country continued to build airports and navy and air force bases on them, especially on the unlawfully occupied Zhongye Island. Military camps and ports were also renovated to accommodate more heavy transport, combat jets and warships.

Afterwards, the Philippines stepped up its maritime violation in a more aggravated manner. Abandoning the agreement to resolve disputes through bilateral negotiation and breaking its promises in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, the Aquino III administration unilaterally initialed the so-called South China Sea arbitration case as an attempt to negate China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

As for the US, on the one hand, it overlooked the illegal construction by certain countries on China’s islands and reefs, and on the other hand, it sent warships from all the way across the Pacific Ocean to China’s coastal waters. The superpower even sought to increase military deployment in the Philippines and other neighboring countries in the South China Sea.

As the “mastermind” behind the South China Sea arbitration, the US immediately jumped out to endorse the illegal award on the day it was announced as if it would be too late to create obstacles for all sides to properly manage the maritime situation and peacefully resolve disputes.

The international community is perfectly clear that it was the US, the Aquino III administration and the temporary arbitration tribunal who created enormous risks for peace and stability in the South China Sea by abducting and damaging international rule of law as well as violating China’s rights and interest.

Time will reveal the truth. China, who sticks to the path of peaceful development, regards the South China Sea as a bridge connecting China and neighboring countries as well as a bond for peace, friendship, cooperation and development between them.

China will never change its determination because of provocation and incitement of certain countries. History will tell who is the guardian of peace and stability in the South China Sea and who is the staunch supporter of basic norms of the international law and international relations. 

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

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