China strongly disapproves U.S.-Philippine joint statement concerning South China Sea: spokesperson

(Xinhua) 13:41, April 13, 2023

BEIJING, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Wednesday said China is gravely concerned over and strongly disapproves the joint statement of the United States and the Philippines concerning the South China Sea.

Wang made the remarks at a regular press briefing when answering a relevant query.

Wang said that on April 11, the Philippines and the U.S. held the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and issued a joint statement, which called on China to comply with the 2016 "Arbitral Award" on the South China Sea.

The statement also mentioned that the two countries will support swift operationalization of the new sites for military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and that the U.S. will provide financial support for this.

"We also noted that Philippine President Marcos said China's reaction over the expanded military deal was 'not surprising,'" said Wang.

Noting that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and the adjacent waters, Wang said the joint statement of the U.S. and the Philippines misrepresents and discredits the legitimate and lawful maritime law enforcement activities of the Chinese side and even makes false accusations against China, which China strongly opposes.

The spokesperson said the so-called arbitral award on the South China Sea gravely violates international laws, including UNCLOS. The award is illegal, null and void, and China's position of not accepting or recognizing it is clear and firm.

China stands ready to work with relevant countries to handle maritime disputes in a proper manner through negotiation and consultation, while resolutely protecting its territory, sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, Wang added.

"With regard to the new military base sites to which the Philippines gives the U.S. access, we have stated China's position several times. Facts speak louder than words," Wang said.

He said that judging from the locations of the new military bases, the intention behind those sites is more than obvious. The U.S. and the Philippines have just added a footnote to their intention by stressing in the joint statement that they will "support swift operationalization of the four new sites."

"It seems there is no need for China to provide any additional analysis or interpretation of that. So indeed there is nothing to be surprised about when it comes to China's response," Wang said.

Wang stressed that China always believes that the Asia-Pacific is the common home of countries in the region. The region's peace and stability hinges on trust, solidarity and cooperation and requires that members of this region take security firmly in their own hands.

"We would like to once again remind the relevant country in the region that pandering to forces outside the region will not bring greater security, but will cause tensions, put regional peace and stability at risk and eventually backfire," the spokesperson said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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