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Chinese Embassy in UK
Home > Press and Media Service > Spokeperson's Remarks
Chinese Embassy Refutes the Financial Times' Editorial on the Issue of the South China Sea

The following is a letter from Mr. Zhang Yangwu, Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, responding to the Financial Times' editorial on 1 June 2015. The letter was published in the Financial Times on 25 June.

Sir, Your editorial "Cooler heads are needed in the South China Sea" (June 1) is regrettably unbalanced and untrue.

First, the editorial's claim that China's sovereignty as well as rights and interests in the South China Sea has "little or no basis in international law" is wrong. China's sovereignty and relevant rights in the South China Sea have been formed in the long course of history and upheld by successive Chinese governments. This position has adequate historical and legal basis, and does not need to be reinforced through construction activities on relevant islands and reefs.

Second, the essence of the issue of the South China Sea is the disputes over the sovereignty over some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands and the disputes over maritime demarcation in parts of the South China Sea. China and Asean countries have made it clear that the issue of the South China Sea shall be addressed through the "dual-track approach", which means that relevant disputes shall be resolved by countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation. China and Asean countries are pressing ahead with the Code of Conduct consultation, striving to reach an agreement based on consensus at an early date. There has been important progress.

Third, China's construction work on some garrisoned islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands is totally within China's sovereignty. It is lawful, reasonable and justified, not affecting or targeting any other countries. Once finished, the construction work will equip the islands and reefs with functions that are mainly for civilian uses. This will include providing better services to the ships passing through the South China Sea, whether they are Chinese ships or ships of China's neighbours and other countries.

Fourth, China cares about the safety and freedom of navigation in the region more than anyone else. China's construction activities will not undermine freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. On the contrary, it will facilitate joint response to maritime challenges and will help improve safety of navigation.

Fifth, the US is not a party to the South China Sea issue. The South China Sea is not and should not become an issue between China and the US. The US needs to respect the efforts of the countries in the region in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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