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Wang Yi speaks to Al Jazeera on S. China Sea dispute in Beijing


05-21-2016 10:14 BJT

Full coverage: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently gave an interview to Al Jazeera in Beijing. He reiterated China's stance that the issue needs to be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

Wang Yi's message is clear and loud.

He stressed the Chinese government has always persisted in its stance of resolving the South China Sea issue peacefully through consultation.

"The South China Sea was originally peaceful and stable. As for the disputes left over from history over some specific islands and reefs, China is committed to seeking proper, peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation, even though its own rights and interests had been infringed upon. This process is still under way," Wang said.

In regards to China's construction in the South China Sea, Wang said it aims to improve the living and working conditions of the personnel on the islands and reefs, as well as improving the navigation conditions in the area.

He said the action does not breach any international laws nor affects the freedom of navigation. He said that to play up or sensationalize the matter makes no sense.

"As for the so-called militarization you just mentioned, it is common sense that all countries enjoy the right to self-preservation and self-defense under international law. It is therefore perfectly normal that China has some self-defense facilities on its stationed islands and reefs," Wang said.

In 2013, the Philippines unilaterally filed an arbitration case against China over maritime disputes.

Wang said China does not approve, accept or participate in the case because it goes against the principle of arbitration, which requires agreement between the parties concerned.

The Philippines pushed for the arbitration without any consultation with China.

And the country also violated a number of bilateral agreements it reached with China, the centerpiece of which was to resolve problems through negotiation.

"The Philippines claimed that it initiated the arbitration because it had exhausted the means of negotiation. That's not true; or to put it more bluntly, that is a lie. The Philippines had not engaged in any serious bilateral negotiations with China on any of the so-called requests it submitted to the arbitral tribunal. Even now, China is still saying to the Philippines that we can sit down and talk, and China's door for dialogue is open. It is the Philippines who still refuses to negotiate or consult with us. As we see it, what the Philippines did lacks legality and legitimacy from the very beginning," Wang said.

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