OPINIONS Observer: US the biggest threat to peace, stability in South China Sea

OPINIONS

Observer: US the biggest threat to peace, stability in South China Sea

By Zhong Sheng | People's Daily app

15:40, August 12, 2021

The US is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea, and it is not qualified to make irresponsible remarks on the issue of the South China Sea, said charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the UN.

He made the remarks after a US representative groundlessly accused China of coercion and bullying other countries in the South China Sea and made hypes about the so-called South China Sea arbitration at a Security Council meeting on maritime security held on Aug. 9.

It was not the first time for the US to make a conflict on the issue of the South China Sea to undermine regional peace and stability.

The so-called South China Sea arbitration was nothing but a political farce directed by Washington, and valuing it so much, the US would only once again prove such fact. China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea have been formed in the course of a long history. They are supported by abundant historical and legal basis, and conform to relevant international law and practices.

The South China Sea arbitration violated the principle of state consent and the arbitral tribunal exercised its jurisdiction ultra vires and rendered an award in disregard of law. The arbitration has major fallacies in fact-finding and application of law and violates the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international law. The award of the arbitration is illegal and null. China does not accept or participate in the arbitration, nor does it accept or recognize the award.

China's sovereignty and rights and interests over the South China Sea are not affected at all by the arbitration and China does not accept any claim or act based on it.

The so-called coercion and bullying practices by China on the South China Sea are sheer nonsense. In recent years, China and countries concerned have effectively managed differences through dialogue and consultation and continuously promoted practical cooperation. China and ASEAN countries fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and actively promote consultations on the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" with major progress.

The South China Sea is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world and the lifeline of China's maritime trade. Some 30 percent of global trade in goods and each year about 100,000 merchant vessels transit through the South China Sea. With the joint efforts of countries in the region including China, passage through the South China sea has always been smooth and safe, and not a single vessel has ever reported that its navigation is hindered or safety threatened in the South China Sea.

Facts have repeatedly proved that China and relevant countries are totally capable of properly managing differences, building the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, and safeguarding peace, stability, and long-term security of the region.

The US is indeed the one that is resorting to coercion and bullying practices in the South China Sea. As a non-contracting party of the UNCLOS, it is even pointing fingers at other countries and interfering in their domestic affairs with the law. The US is not a party concerned to the South China Sea issue, and should keep its commitment of not taking a position on the South China Sea sovereignty issue.

However, the US has done everything to muddy the waters in the South China Sea. It willfully sends large-scale advanced vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea for military reconnaissance and drills and illegally intruded into China's territorial waters and space, and water and air space adjacent to islands and reefs. The spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last month that the US side has conducted close-in reconnaissance for nearly 2,000 times and over 20 large-scale military drills on the sea targeting China since the beginning of this year. What's more, the US abuses bilateral military agreements that smack of the Cold War to threaten to use force on China. This exposes its power politics logic and hegemonic practices. It is self-evident who is seeking coercion and intimidation and threatening freedom and security of navigation.

The so-called "not making a distinction between countries in and outside the region" recently raised by the US disregards the justified and legitimate rights and interests of coastal states of the South China Sea. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad once said that it is believed that China would exercise restraint on the issue of the South China Sea, but some unfriendly countries outside the region would try to provoke conflicts.

Peace and stability is the common strategic objective of China and ASEAN countries. China has the resolve and capability to uphold national sovereignty and territorial security, and will continue working with regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. We sternly urge the US to stop its sinister ploy in the South China Sea, as any attempt to muddy the waters in the region is doomed to fail.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)


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