China issues white paper on settling disputes with Philippines

BY: shamin, 13 Jul 2016

BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a 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."

"The Philippines' territorial claim over part of Nansha Qundao is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law," said the document issued by the State Council Information Office.
The core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines' invasion and illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands), it said.

In addition, with the development of the international law of the sea, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between the two states regarding certain sea areas of the South China Sea, it added.
The two countries held multiple rounds of consultations on the proper management of disputes at sea and reached consensus on resolving through negotiation and consultation the relevant disputes, which has been repeatedly reaffirmed in a number of bilateral documents, according to the white paper.

In 2013, the then government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration.

By doing so, the Philippines has violated its standing agreement with China to settle the relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, has violated China's right to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and has abused the UNCLOS dispute settlement procedures, it said.

"The Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines' unilateral request has no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it are null and void and have no binding force," said the document.

"China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards. China does not accept or recognize those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards," it added.

The white paper, consisting of more than 20,000 Chinese characters, also explained that Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands), are China's inherent territory, saying 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, named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them.

"China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law," it said.

China abides by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and is committed to upholding and promoting international rule of law. It respects and acts in accordance with international law, the white paper said.

While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China adheres to the position of settling disputes through negotiation and consultation and managing differences through rules and mechanisms, it added.

"China endeavors to achieve win-win outcomes through mutually beneficial cooperation, and is committed to making the South China Sea a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship," it said.
China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea with other countries in the region and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea enjoyed by other countries under international law, according to the white paper.

In the white paper, China urges countries outside this region to respect the efforts in this regard by countries in the region and to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.


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