China urges Philippines to stop hyping up maritime disputes

(Xinhua) 09:39, December 09, 2023

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Friday urged the Philippines to stop hyping up maritime disputes between the two countries, and work with China to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

When asked to comment on reports at a daily press briefing that the House of Representatives of the Philippines recently adopted a resolution regarding issues of the South China Sea, spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the resolution groundlessly criticized, misrepresented and smeared China, and China firmly rejects it.

"First of all, China has indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao, consisting of Dongsha Qundao, Xisha Qundao, Zhongsha Qundao and Nansha Qundao, and their adjacent waters, and has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters," Wang said, adding that China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea were established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and the law.

"Second, the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration violated the principle of state consent, exercised its jurisdiction ultra vires and rendered an award in disregard of the law. This is a grave violation of UNCLOS and general international law. The award is illegal, null and void," Wang said, adding that China does not accept or recognize it, and will never accept any claim or action based on the award. This is firmly grounded in international law. China's sovereignty and rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by the illegal award. Any attempt to impose the illegal award on China is in violation of international law.

Third, China's construction and deployment of necessary defense facilities on its own territory in Nansha Qundao, and the patrols by Chinese military and Coast Guard ships, the scientific research activities by relevant Chinese departments, and the fishing activities by Chinese fishing boats in waters under China's jurisdiction are all legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach, according to Wang.

Fourth, Ren'ai Jiao is part of China's Nansha Qundao. The Philippines illegally grounded a warship there and frequently sent vessels to illegally intrude into the reef's adjacent waters to deliver construction materials in an attempt to reinforce the grounded warship, Wang said. "This amounts to grave infringement on China's sovereignty. China will continue to do what is necessary to firmly safeguard its sovereignty in accordance with domestic and international law."

Fifth, China's summer fishing moratorium in the South China Sea is a normal measure aimed at protecting marine biological resources in waters under its jurisdiction and a concrete step in fulfilling its obligations under international law including UNCLOS. The Philippine side should not make wanton remarks about this, Wang said.

Sixth, for some time, the Philippines has been sending people to Tiexian Jiao and other uninhabited islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands and sending aircraft and vessels to intrude into adjacent waters and airspace of China's Nansha Islands and Huangyan Dao, according to the spokesperson. "These moves severely violate China's sovereignty, endanger China's security, go against the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea. China has made serious demarches for nearly 100 times and officially expressed our protest to the Philippines."

"We once again urge the Philippines to stop hyping up maritime disputes between China and the Philippines, and stop its infringement of China's sovereignty and provocation at sea," Wang said, adding that the Philippines should return to the right track of resolving maritime disputes through negotiation and consultation as soon as possible, and work with China to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Wu Chaolan)


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