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
The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China
13 July 2016
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.