Historical documents back China’s claims on South China sea

World Today

The South China Sea

Collecting the historical evidence of Chinese sovereignty over the islands and reefs, in the South China Sea.

This has been the focus of Professor Wu Shicun’s work for two decades.

CCTV’s Han Bin talked with Professor Wu Shicun, President of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in south China’s Hainan Province.

Professor Wu explains China’s official position through his decades of research.

The more he studies, the more he believes China has the best basis of territorial claims than other nations.

Manila’s arbitration case is challenging China’s historic rights of the Dotted Line claims.

The Chinese map was drawn by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of China in 1946. The eight dashes mark what’s known as China’s “traditional maritime boundary line.”

And the textbook published in 1936 marks the island groups within China’s domain, and China’s southernmost boundary at Zengmu Ansha, known as James Shoal in the West, at 4 degrees north latitude.

Wu Shicun stressed that China was the first country to discover, name and control these island groups. The history of continuous use and exercise of authority spans over 2,000 years.

This map identifies some island groups as “Wanli Changsha”, literally meaning “long sandy banks tens of thousands of miles afar.” They are marked as the territory of the Ming Dynasty, going back to the 17th Century.

Wu Shicun said no other country can provide more definitive evidence to support a claim. But today, the stakes are much higher.

Wu Shicun believes disputes over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters are unlikely to go away in the near future. He says putting aside disagreements and seeking joint development, would be a wise move.

The sovereignty over the island features lies at the heart of the South China Sea dispute and may become a flash point in the region. China believes to discuss the territorial claims; one must inevitably dig into their history. And these historical documents from China may help provide the context in which the current tensions are unfolding.