China’s foreign minister took a hard line Tuesday on the country’s claims to virtually all the South China Sea, saying it won’t permit other nations to infringe on what it considers its sovereign rights in the strategically vital area.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China’s stance that the Nansha Islands in South China Sea have been China’s inherent territory, and every Chinese person has the obligation to defend them. Furthermore, China has never and will not make new territorial claims.
“Building defense facilities on its own islands and reefs, China is actually exercising the rights of self-preservation and self-defense,” said the minister, adding that China was not the first country that deployed weapons on the Nansha Islands nor the country that has deployed the most weapons. It is not even the country that has conducted the most frequent military activities, he added.
He added that any attempts to disturb the South China Sea and destabilize Asia would not be allowed by China and most other countries in the region.
Wang also said the region remains among the world’s safest and freest sail lanes so far, thanks to joint efforts made by China and other countries in the region.
In regards to the Philippines claims to the South China Sea islands, Wang said China is acting fully in line with international law and does not accept the South China Sea arbitration filed by the Philippines to the Hague tribunal.
“China in 2006 exercised its right under the Article 298 of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and made a declaration that excludes compulsory arbitration,” Wang said.
China says it controls much of the South China Sea. ASEAN members Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines also claim islands there, and many of the sovereignty claims overlap.
In response to questions on China’s attitude toward new sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic Korea (DPRK) and whether China would assist the country militarily if conflict broke out on the peninsula, the foreign minister said China has the responsibility and capability of implementing the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the DPRK for its nuclear tests.
“China is a permanent member of the UNSC (U.N. Security Council). We have the responsibility and capability to implement various resolutions passed by the Security Council, including Resolution 2270 concerning the DPRK,” Wang said.
Though China will adopt an objective and impartial attitude to carry out necessary evaluation, determination, and monitoring, Wang stressed that Resolution 2270 not only contains sanctions, but also reiterates the support for the six-party talks and asks various parties to refrain from taking any action that might aggravate tensions.
Wang said China and DPRK enjoy the normal state to state relationship, and China cherishes its traditional bond with the country. He pledged China will support and help the DPRK if the latter seeks development and security, but China will not accommodate its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs.
Wang reaffirmed China will remain unwavering in its pursuit of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Story by CCTV, with information from the Associated Press.