|Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin at the Press Conference on the White Paper Titled China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea (I)|
On 13 July 2016, the State Council Information Office (SCIO) held a press conference on the white paper titled China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea hosted by Vice Minister and Spokesperson of SCIO Guo Weimin. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin attended the press conference, briefed the audience on the white paper and took questions from the press.
Guo Weimin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the press, good morning. Welcome to today's press conference.
On the 12th of July, the so-called Arbitral Tribunal for the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines issued its award. Chinese leaders issued remarks to state Chinese government's firm position, the Chinese government issued the Statement on China's Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea, and China's Foreign Ministry issued the Statement on the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration Established at the Request of the Republic of the Philippines to reiterate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, pointing out that the award is null and void and has no binding force and China does not accept or recognize the award. The Chinese government's position won the firm and wide support of the Chinese public and the international community.
Today, the State Council Information Office issues the white paper titled China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea to fully set forth Chinese government's consistent position and policy on the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea and the South China Sea issue. Today, we have invited Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin to join us in this briefing and to answer your questions.
Before that, let me give a brief introduction to the white paper. The white paper has five main parts.
First, Nanhai Zhudao are China's inherent territory. It emphasizes that China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao is established in the course of history and China has always been resolute in upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao is widely acknowledged in the international community.
The second part is about the origin of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. It emphasizes that it is the Philippines' invasion and illegal occupation that caused disputes with China and the Philippines' territorial claim on some islands and reefs of Nansha Qundao has no basis. It points out that it is the development of the international law of the sea that gave rise to the dispute between China and the Philippines over maritime delimitation.
The third part is that China and the Philippines have reached consensus on settling their relevant disputes in the South China Sea, stressing that it is the consensus and commitment of China and the Philippines to settle through negotiation their relevant disputes and it is the consensus of China and the Philippines to properly manage relevant disputes in the South China Sea.
The fourth part is that the Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that complicate the relevant disputes. It points out that the Philippines attempts to expand its occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao, has increasingly intensified its infringement of China's rights on the sea, and has territorial pretensions on China's Huangyan Dao and the Philippines' unilateral initiation of the arbitration is an act of bad faith.
The fifth part is China's policy on the South China Sea issue, elaborating on China's position and policy on the territorial issues concerning Nansha Qundao, maritime delimitation in the South China Sea, ways and means of dispute settlement, management of differences and practical maritime cooperation in the South China Sea, freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea, and jointly upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea.
The white paper aims to set the record straight regarding the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines and reiterates China's consistent position and policy, to get to the root of the issue and to clear the wrong perceptions. The white paper contains more than 20, 000 Chinese characters and will be published in multiple languages including Chinese, English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic and Portuguese. The Chinese version and the foreign language versions have been published by the People's Publishing House and the Foreign Languages Press and will be for sale at Xinhua bookstores across the country.
I wish to add that the Chinese people have been conducting activities in the South China Sea for over 2,000 years. The Chinese people say that the South China Sea has been left to us by our ancestors. The arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines and the illegal arbitration by the ad hoc tribunal is a political farce carefully orchestrated under the legal pretext. The so-called award is illegal, null and void, and cannot change the fact that Nanhai Zhudao are China's inherent territory and can not deny China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. This farce will not cause waves in the South China Sea, a sea that has been passed down to us by our ancestors. China's resolve and will to uphold our sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is as firm as ever.
Now, Mr. Vice Foreign Minister, please.
Liu Zhenmin: Dear friends from the press, welcome to today's press conference on the white paper. Vice Minister Guo has just given you a brief introduction to the white paper. The release of the white paper is an important step to respond to the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines. It has five parts as Mr. Guo noted. Now I wish to give you a full review of theses five parts.
The first part is that Nanhai Zhudao are China's inherent territory. The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back to over 2,000 years ago. China is the first to have discovered and named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and the South China Sea, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over Nanhai Zhudao. China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and the relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history.
During its war of aggression against China, Japan invaded and illegally occupied Nanhai Zhudao. After the end of World War II, the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation as well as a series of post-war international documents stipulated that all territories Japan had stolen should be returned to China. Accordingly, after World War II, China recovered Taiwan, Penghu Islands, Xisha Qundao and Nansha Qundao which belong to China in the first place. After the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao, China drew up the relevant map with the dotted line, and published the map to the world in 1948. So the dotted line has been there since 1948.
Since its founding, the People's Republic of China has further upheld its sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and the relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea. China has never stopped patrolling Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters as well as law enforcement, resource development and scientific survey activities there. Nanhai Zhudao have been widely recognized as a part of China's territory by the international community after World War II, which constitutes an integral part of post-war territorial arrangement and international order. Encyclopedias, yearbooks and maps published in many countries after the war all mark the Nansha Qundao as Chinese territory.
The second part is about the core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea which lies in the territorial issue caused by the Philippines' invasion and illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao. Starting from the 1970s, the Philippines has invaded and illegally occupied by force some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao and raised illegal territorial claims. The Philippines has concocted a host of excuses to cover up its invasion and illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao in order to pursue its ambition for territorial pretensions. These claims of the Philippines have no basis whatsoever in either history or international law and cannot change the basic fact that the Nansha Qundao are Chinese territory.
In addition, the emergence and development of the new regime of the law of the sea has given rise to dispute between China and the Philippines over maritime delimitation in certain areas of the South China Sea which needs to be resolved through negotiation.
The third part is to say that China has made unremitting efforts to resolve disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea in a peaceful manner. We have reached important multilateral and bilateral consensus at the time of successive Philippine governments from the administration of Marcos to the Benigno Aquino III administration to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea through consultation and negotiation, manage differences and advance practical cooperation at sea. At the bilateral level, the two countries agreed to resolve relevant disputes through negotiations, exercise restraint and refrain from taking any action that may aggravate the situation, promote practical cooperation and joint development at sea, and not allow relevant disputes to affect the sound development of the bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea. At the regional and multilateral level, in 2002, the DOC was signed. The two countries made the commitment in DOC to resolve relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation.
In the fourth part, it says that in recent years,in violation of bilateral agreement, the Philippines has, time and again, taken actions to complicate and escalate its disputes with China in the South China Sea. It's the Philippines that has created and stirred up the trouble.
The Philippines has built military facilities on relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao which it has illegally occupied. The Philippines also laid territorial claims to China's Huangyan Dao. The Philippines has sent military vessels to harass Chinese fishermen and fishing boats. It has also conducted unilateral oil and natural gas exploitation in waters under China's jurisdiction.
In January 2013, the Philippine government at the time unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration. Such a move went against the agreement with China to resolve disputes through bilateral consultation and negotiation, defied relevant restrictive conditions for triggering arbitration under UNCLOS and infringed on the rights of China as a State Party to UNCLOS to independently choosing means of disputes settlement. The Philippines has abused the dispute settlement procedures established in UNCLOS by fabricating facts and telling lies in an attempt to totally negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.
In the fifth part, it is stated that China is an important force to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, China remains committed to resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation, managing differences through rules and mechanisms, and achieving win-win results through mutually beneficial cooperation. China is committed to turning the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
I'd like to stress that the South China Sea arbitration was unilaterally initiated by the then government of the Republic of the Philippines. It breaches the agreement between China and the Philippines, consensus among countries in the region and international law. It's bound to be discarded. China has noted that His Excellency President Duterte and the new Philippine administration made positive statements on the South China Sea arbitration. China welcomes their readiness to have consultation and dialogue with China on the South China Sea issue. China stands ready to work with the new Philippine administration to properly handle the South China Sea issue and bring China-Philippines relations back to the right track at an early date. Early removal of the obstacles posed by the arbitration will help lead to early restart of all-round cooperation and early tangible benefit of such cooperation for the two peoples. China has confidence in the future of China-Philippines relations.
That's all I have to say, now I'm ready to take your questions.