Understanding the basis for China’s S. China Sea claims


The Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to announce its ruling next month on the South China Sea sovereignty-dispute case initiated by the Philippines against China. China has said it will not accept, participate and enforce the ruling. China has always stressed that the South China Sea sovereignty dispute should not be viewed only from the perspective of the law, but also from the historical perspective: For example, the “nine-dash line” which should not be ignored, the long-term historical interests China has within the “nine-dash line”, and the history of China’s humiliation by imperialism. Why wasn’t China’s interpretation of history and modern law recognised by international history and legal experts? Lianhe Zaobao interviews academics from China, Singapore and Britain to explore the issue.
Dr Wu Shicun, the president of China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies, felt a sense of pride when it came to historical archives.

He told Zaobao from Hainan: “Our institute has the archives and historical documents on the South China Sea, from the era of the Republic of China, including photos of China sending warships to reclaim the islands and reefs in the South China Sea after the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. Many foreign reporters and academics were surprised after they saw these photos.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in March this year that the Spratly Islands are Chinese territories and “the Chinese people have the duty to defend them”.