Chinese envoy defends position on South China Sea



UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy on Tuesday defended China’s position on the South China Sea, saying that its claims are in line with relevant international law and practices.

“China’s territorial claims and claims to marine rights and interests in the South China Sea are in line with relevant international law and international practices,” Wu Haitao, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the UN General Assembly.

China has always respected and supported the rights of countries to the freedom of navigation and flight in and over the South China Sea in accordance with international law. Such freedoms have never been an issue, Wu said.

The 2016 handling of the case concerning the South China Sea by the arbitral tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the award it granted run counter to international law and have seriously and negatively impacted on international rule of law and the integrity and authority of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.

China’s position on such arbitration has been clear and consistent. The Chinese government does not accept or participate in the arbitration and will never recognize or accept the related awards and will not accept any claims or action based on those awards, Wu said.

China’s position on the issue of the South China Sea has been consistent. China believes that the countries directly involved should, through negotiations and consultations on the basis of respect for historical facts and international law, properly solve problems of terrestrial and maritime boundary delimitation, he said.

Currently, thanks to the joint efforts of China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the situation in the South China Sea has been eased and stabilized, said the envoy.

The consultations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea have been making progress. China will continue to work together with ASEAN members to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to carry forward the consultations on the code of conduct so as to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, he said.