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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on Freedom of Navigation and Over-flight in the South China Sea Discussed at the Shangri-La Dialogue

2016/06/06

Q: When talking about the South China Sea issue at the Shangri-La Dialogue, some people expressed concern about freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the remarks.

The problem about freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea is a false statement. All countries have unimpeded access to normal navigation and flight activities in the South China Sea. We have never heard about any country encountering any problem. China respects and supports freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law, and has worked relentlessly for that together with other coastal states in the South China Sea. The international community knows that well.

I am afraid the negative publicity campaign on freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea launched by certain countries is driven by hidden motives. By sensationalizing the so-called tensions in the South China Sea, and driving wedges between countries in the region, they are trying to justify their political and military involvement in the South China Sea issue. That is what they really want. 

China is the largest coastal state in the South China Sea. To ensure freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea meets not only the requirement of international law but also China's fundamental interests. China will continue to do so and keep the shipping lane in the South China Sea unobstructed. We also hope that relevant countries will stop disturbing peace and stability of the region under the pretext of safeguarding or exercising freedom of navigation.

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