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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 29 October 2015. The letter was published in the Financial Times on 5 November.

Sir, I would like to make a few clarifications to your editorial "China's island building lacks strategic logic" (October 29).

It is a serious provocation, both politically and militarily, that the US sent naval vessels to waters near relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands. This was an attempt to escalate tension and to militarise the region. The US asks others not to militarise the region while it is sending military vessels there frequently itself. The US is not yet a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. What the US is doing is totally against the spirit of the convention.

Your accusation that China seeks a "sphere of influence" is unacceptable. The truth is that China's sovereignty and relevant rights in the South China Sea have been formed over the long course of history.

The issue here is that some countries have illegally occupied some of China's islands in the South China Sea. The essence of the issue is the sovereignty over some islands and reefs of the Nansha islands and over maritime demarcation in some parts of the South China Sea. China has always maintained that the South China Sea issue should be peacefully resolved on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law. It is up to countries directly concerned to deal with the issue through friendly negotiation and consultation.

China's so-called threat to the freedom of navigation in the area is groundless. Passage through the South China Sea is always open and the freedom of navigation is safeguarded.

As the largest trading nation, China cares about the safety and freedom of navigation in the region more than anyone else. China has never impaired the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea that has been enjoyed by other countries in accordance with the international law, and will never do so.

China adheres to peaceful development. However, it is also steadfast in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and security as well as lawful and justified maritime rights and interests, and will firmly respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.

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