|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on the Philippines' Statement on the South China Sea|
Q: In response to China's statement that the Philippines' claim of having exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful settlement of the dispute is completely not true, the Philippine Foreign Ministry issued an eight-point statement on July 15, saying that the Chinese statement is baseless and China's hard line position makes it impossible to continue bilateral discussions and leads the Philippines to finally resort to international arbitration. What is China's comment?
A: We regret that the Philippines stated that it has become impossible to continue bilateral discussions with China, and are dissatisfied with its refusal to diplomatic negotiation and closure of the door to dialogue. We are firmly opposed to the Philippines' indifference to China's lawful rights and interests and legitimate concerns as well as its willful act of pushing for international arbitration.
The Philippines' illegal occupation of some of the islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands is the direct cause to the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines. China sticks to the longstanding position of safeguarding national territorial sovereignty, which is totally legitimate. Meanwhile, bearing in mind the relations between China and the Philippines as well as regional peace and stability, China stays committed to solving disputes concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation through bilateral negotiations in accordance with relevant regulations of international law and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). This position remains unchanged.
There has been communication and agreement between China and the Philippines on disputes in the South China Sea. The two sides reached the important consensus of carrying out cooperation in a step by step manner and resolving bilateral disputes through negotiations. There has also been sound cooperation between China and the Philippines. As approved by the two governments, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company signed an agreement for joint marine seismic undertaking on certain areas of the South China Sea, which later included Vietnam. The three parties have carried out joint marine seismic operations, making positive contribution to stability, cooperation and development of the South China Sea.
However, it is regrettable that over recent years, the Philippines has changed its attitude and approach in handling the issue, gone back on its consensus with China, broken its commitment in the DOC, cast aside the framework of dialogue upheld by a majority of countries, refused to cooperate, aggravated the situation and set off the incident of the Huangyan Island by harassing Chinese civilians with warships, casting a shadow over China-Philippine relations and peace and stability of the South China Sea.
The Philippines publicly criticized China during the recently held ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meetings, regardless of the consensus among ASEAN countries, and thus was reasonably refuted by China. It is difficult for China to understand how could the Philippines continue to play up the issue of the South China Sea, distort the facts and smear China.
The overall situation of the South China Sea is stable. China and ASEAN countries have consensus on upholding peace and stability of the South China Sea. China will stay committed to safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea with maximum good faith and sincerity. China has never closed the door to negotiation and consultation with the Philippines in the hope of improving and developing bilateral relations. China urges the Philippines to correct its erroneous actions, make positive response to China's suggestions in March, 2010 and January, 2012 respectively of establishing the Sino-Philippine regular consultation mechanism on maritime issues and resuming the Sino-Philippine mechanism on trust-building measures, and come back to the correct track of resolving disputes through bilateral negotiations.