Chinese Embassy Refutes The New York Times' Editorial on South China Sea
2015/07/28

 

The following is a letter from Mr. Zhu Haiquan, Press Counselor and Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in the US to The New York Times' editorial page editor, which is published on The New York Times on July 28, 2015, in response to The New York Times' editorial on the South China Sea on July 17, 2015.

To the Editor:

Your July 17 editorial "The South China Sea, in Court," about the arbitration case raised by the Philippines over rights to the South China Sea, is not fair.

China, a latecomer to land reclamation, has been exercising utmost restraint. But the status quo has long been broken by the Philippines and some other claimants, which built facilities, including military ones, on the reefs owned by China.

China calls on relevant parties to shelve their differences and engage in joint development in the South China Sea. Actually in 2005, China, the Philippines and Vietnam conducted joint marine seismic survey in some areas of the sea. It would have set a good precedent if the Philippine government had not changed its mind.

China's approach toward solving the South China Sea issue is to have direct dialogue and negotiation between claimants, which is more effective and sustainable. China and the Philippines had tried such talks before, but the Philippine side unilaterally stopped them in 2012. Our door remains open, and we are engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in establishing a code of conduct to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea until the disputes are settled.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gives no country the legal right to extend its exclusive economic zone to other country's territories. We do not believe that the arbitration court has jurisdiction, and as a member of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China is entitled to exclude any third-party compulsory settlement.

ZHU HAIQUAN

Press Counselor and Spokesman

Chinese Embassy

Washington

 

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