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11/12/2012

Who are the real trouble makers in the South China Sea?China a main contributor to a peaceful and stable South China Sea China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This has long been recognized by the international community. Based on the principles of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and strengthening cooperation with neighboring countries, China has been exercising self-restraint and promoting dialogue and cooperation with the countries concerned in a constructive manner. China's contributions to the regional stability are there for all to see. China is playing a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea. Peace and stability in the South China Sea are closely related to the vital interests of China, who benefits from the safe and unimpeded navigation as well as the regional trade links and economic prosperity. China cherishes and is committed to safeguarding this hard-won situation. However, recently some foreign political figures, policy analysts and scholars condemn China's practices as "the big bullying the small, the strong domineering over the weak.” They even speculate that China is taking the delaying or dodging tactics so as to dominate the resolution of the disputes when a favorable time comes. Such accusations are totally groundless. China insists on solving international disputes through peaceful negotiations. China is ready to negotiate with the countries concerned to handle the South China Sea disputes in a proper manner in accordance with the universally recognized international laws including the principles and legal regime established under UNCLOS. Early in the 1980s, China proposed "shelving the disputes and seeking for joint development,” which showed its sincerity and willingness to a proper settlement of the SCS disputes. In December 2000, China and Vietnam after many years of negotiation, signed the Agreement on the Delimitation of the Beibu Gulf (Tonkin Gulf), leading to the delimitation of the territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and continental shelf between the two countries. In October 2003, China joined ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and signed with ASEAN the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, through which the strategic mutual trust was greatly enhanced. In July 2011, China and ASEAN adopted the Guidelines to Implement the DOC, which paved the way for further practical cooperation in the South China Sea. In November 2011, China proposed setting up a 3 billion yuan ($480 million) China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund in order to bring about multi-tiered and all-round maritime cooperation with ASEAN. With its positive actions and goodwill gestures, China has been playing an important role in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea. It could be seen, from the facts of the equitable and reasonable demarcation of the Beibu Gulf with Vietnam as well as the self-restraint exercise throughout the Huangyan Island standoff, that China as a big country has never bullied the small ones. Some other facts should not be ignored either. The US emphasizes that it does not take a position and is neutral in the South China Sea disputes. However, a high-profile US government official intentionally used the “West Philippine Sea” instead of the internationally recognized name “the South China Sea,” and a US senator criticized the normal bid inviting action by a Chinese oil company and accused it as violating Vietnam’s territorial rights. Seeing all these, people cannot but question what kind of neutrality the US is displaying. Furthermore, on August 3, 2012, the US Department of State issued a press statement on the South China Sea. The statement showed total disregard of the facts, confounded right and wrong, and made unfounded accusations against China, intentionally complicating the situation and escalating the disputes in the South China Sea. When seeking the root causes for the unrest in the South China Sea since 2009, in contrast with China’s commitment to peace and stability, some countries have been provoking discord and disputes and stirring up trouble on purpose. This must be exposed to and condemned by international opinion. China is the Protector of a Peaceful and Stable South China Sea. China's sovereignty claim over the four island groups in the South China Sea has ample historical and legal evidence. Certain foreign media are hyping up the "China threat in the South China Sea," claiming that China is coming up with its own version of the Monroe Doctrine in Asia. Certain state leaders claim that China wants to turn the South China Sea into a “Chinese Lake,” and that they can not allow China to “exercise disproportionate control” over the South China Sea, so on and so forth. All those subjective assumptions are clearly not true. China’s modern history was one of miserable suffering from colonization and invasion rather than hegemony and expansion. China adheres to the road of peaceful development, unswervingly pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and a defense policy that is defensive in nature rather than trying to expand its sphere of influence. Never seeking hegemony is China's solemn commitment to the whole world. China is a committed protector of the peace and stability of the South China Sea. It has never claimed sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, nor will it expand its current claim. The Chinese people love peace, and uphold the principle of good neighborly friendship. Yet, it does not mean that China will accept its territorial sovereignty or maritime rights and interests being infringed by foreign countries. China respects other countries, and is willing to settle territorial and jurisdictional disputes with its neighbors through consultations and negotiations on a friendly and equal basis. But China’s legitimate rights and appeals must get its due respect and assurance. China has always exercised self-restraint on the South China Sea issue, and has taken reasonable and irreproachable reactions to the challenges created by relevant states. Setting up Sansha city recently was the Chinese government's necessary adjustment of the local administrative agencies, the offices in Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands which have existed since 1959. Such conduct is completely within China's sovereignty. As an outsider, the US is neither a South China Sea claimant state, nor a signatory state to the UNCLOS, and thus neither justified nor qualified to criticize China. Posted by Southernglory

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