Diplomatic Negotiation is the Only Way Forward
--Chinese Embassy Refutes Washington Post's Editorial On South China Sea

The following is a letter from Mr. Zhu Haiquan, Press Counselor and Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. to the editorial page of the Washington Post, which is published on July 22, 2016, in response to Washington Post editorial titled "a fateful choice for China" on July 14, 2016:

Without China's consent, the arbitration initiated by the former government of the Philippines violates the practice in international law that arbitration be premised on each state's consent. This tribunal exceeded its own jurisdiction. The issues are territorial disputes, which are not subject to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. China has made an optional exceptions declaration in accordance with UNCLOS and excluded issues such as maritime delimitation from processes such as this arbitration.

This arbitration case damaged international law and may open the door for abusing arbitration procedures, undermining the authority and effectiveness of international law. By rejecting the arbitration, China defends its interests and advocates international justice through the true spirit of international law.

Disturbingly, the arbitration was combined with military coercion. U.S. warships and warplanes in the South China Sea, a manifestation of "might is right," escalated tensions and weakened diplomatic negotiation.

China has always maintained that negotiation and consultation are the most feasible and effective ways to resolve the South China Sea dispute. But the former government of the Philippines rejected this. China has resolved boundary issues with 12 of its 14 land neighbors and part of maritime delimitation in the Tonkin Gulf with Vietnam, an unmatched record. We have confidence in addressing the issue of the South China Sea by negotiation and consultation and hope the Philippines will return to the right track.

We hope the United States makes the right choice, refrains from provocative military operations, facilitates diplomatic efforts and doesn't let this issue define the relationship between our nations.


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