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Home > Ambassador Liu > Remarks > 2018
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Talks about the South China Sea Issue: No One Should Underestimate China's Will and Determination

On September 19, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the Annual Commonwealth Diplomats Induction Programme and delivered a speech. In the speech, Ambassador Liu talked about the South China Sea issue. He said,

“Despite all the recent hyping-up, the facts speak for themselves: Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is improving; relevant parties have returned to the right track of addressing disputes through negotiation and consultation; the relations between China and relevant countries have been sound and stable. China and ASEAN countries are working on the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We are actively advancing the consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). Agreement was reached between China and ASEAN countries recently on a single draft negotiating text of the COC. This has fully demonstrated that countries in the region have the confidence, capability and wisdom to deal with the South China Sea issue properly and achieve enduring stability, development and prosperity.”

“Yet to everyone’s confusion, some big countries outside the region did not seem to appreciate the peace and tranquility in the South China Sea. They sent warships and aircraft all the way to the South China Sea to create trouble. Under the excuse of so-called ‘freedom of navigation’, they ignored the vast sea lane and chose to sail into the adjacent waters of China's islands and reefs to show off their military might. This was a serious infringement upon China's sovereignty. It threatened China's security and put regional peace and stability in jeopardy.”

“The truth is the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been a problem. Every year, hundreds of thousands of merchant vessels pass through the South China Sea safely and unimpeded. Never has there been a single case of navigation freedom being affected. With over 60% of its foreign trade and transport of energy passing through the South China Sea, China, more than any other countries, cherishes the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea. China has all-along respected and upheld the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. But the precondition for such freedom is respect for the sovereignty and security of the littoral states.”

Ambassador Liu emphasized that Freedom of navigation is not a license to do whatever one wishes. Freedom of navigation is not freedom to invade in other country's territorial waters and infringe upon other country's sovereignty. Such "freedom" must be stopped. Otherwise the South China Sea will never be tranquil. No one should underestimate China's will to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests. No one should underestimate China's determination to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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