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Irrefutable fact: South China Sea islands belong to China

Editor: lishouen 丨CCTV.com

06-06-2016 15:24 BJT

By Ling Dequan, researcher with Center for World Affairs Studies, Xinhua News Agency

Panview Exclusive: China’s sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, including Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands can be proven with historical and legal evidence recorded from domestic and foreign documents.

The ancient Chinese had discovered, named and developed those islands in the first place.  During Japan’s invasion of China in the 1930s-1940s, the islands were deprived of its natural resources and set up as a bastion for the Japanese military to invade Southeast Asia.

After World War II., the government of the Republic of China had regained sovereignty of the islands along with Taiwan Island according to the Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Proclamation.

The then government had deployed military and political officials to navigate a cruise warship there and held a reception ceremony of Xisha and Nansha Islands, erecting monuments, deploying troops, and conducting a geographical survey there.

In 1947, the government of the Republic of China renamed the islands and printed a dotted line in South China Sea on its national map that was officially marked in 1948.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, Beijing has claimed and safeguarded sovereignty over  islands in South China Sea including Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands, which were announced as China’s territory again in the 1958 “Chinese Government’s statement on territorial waters” and 1992 “Law of the PRC on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone.”

Before the 1970s, the Philippines had defined its territorial limits, which didn’t include any islands in South China Sea.  In fact, the maps printed by many countries indicated that Nansha and Xisha islands were China’s territory. Manila had occupied illegally part of Nansha Islands in the 1970s.

When the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea came into effect since November 16 in 1994, Manila had put proposed an exclusive economic zone and continental shelf that overlapped with China’s territorial waters.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does not involve territorial limits. Hence, Beijing made an exclusive statement based on the 298th item of the convention to clarify unacceptability of arbitration procedures.

On January 22, 2013, the former Philippines President Benito Aquino administration had called for international arbitration on the South China Sea issue unilaterally against China’s protests.  There are 15 items in Philippines’ arbitration involving territorial sovereignty and limits, which are excluded issues of arbitration as previously stipulated.

Nevertheless, Manila has ignored Beijing’s exclusive statement. According to the convention, international arbitration should be commenced only when both parties agree to such actions. The Philippines has no right to initiate arbitration unilaterally.

The zero legitimacy in Philippines’ unilateral arbitration proposal has been demonstrated by China’s Foreign Ministry. More people around the world are supporting truth and justice over the dispute.

In today’s world, there are hundreds of territorial disputes. The right way to solve them is through peaceful negotiations. The South China Sea dispute should be resolved by peaceful negotiations, which has been China’s consistent stance and is also an important clause stipulated in “Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea”. 

Manila had also signed the declaration, yet the Aquino administration took a “three-nos” stance: no negotiations, no discussions, and no cooperation, claiming that initiating arbitration was a decision made after they tried all means for bilateral discussions. That is a lie.

The arbitrary act of Manila was incited by behind-scenes political manipulation. It’s doubtful that Aquino Ⅲ. hatched the idea to request international arbitration, while producing thousands of pages indictment, all by himself.

Lies and conspiracies should be revealed in the sun

China holds undeniable sovereignty over the islands and its surrounding waters within the dotted line of the South China Sea. An arbitration tribunal without judicial rights cannot offer a legitimate verdict.

Although some nations seek arbitration to isolate China, that will go nowhere. China will refuse to acknowledge the arbitration’s legitimacy. Rumors may arise once the verdict was made, but Beijing will not bend its stance and would continue to safeguard its rights and interest, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Ling Dequan

Ling Dequan

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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