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Chinese embassy refutes Wall Street Journal editorial on S. China Sea

Editor: Chen Yue 丨Xinhua

06-10-2016 14:39 BJT

Full coverage: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Embassy in the United States on Thursday refuted a Wall Street Journal editorial, saying its call for stronger U.S. military response to the South China Sea issue is "reckless and alarming."

"U.S. military operations in the South China Sea only fuel tensions. The moves suggested by this editorial are even more reckless and alarming," Zhu Haiquan, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, wrote in a letter to The Wall Street Journal.

The letter was published Thursday on the newspaper's website, and will appear on its print edition on Friday.

In the June 3 editorial entitled "South China Sea Challenge," the newspaper called for "a significant increase in the frequency and scope of freedom-of-navigation operations" by the U.S. Navy in response to China's rejecting a ruling to be issued soon by a temporary arbitration tribunal, set up under the framework of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, on the maritime territorial disputes between China and the Philippines.

The case was unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and China has clearly stated that it does not participate in the case, nor will it accept any ruling by the tribunal.

The origin of the South China Sea disputes is not China's territorial ambition but instead, the illegal seizure and occupation of Chinese territory by other countries, Zhu said.

"These historical rights are not superseded by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In fact, UNCLOS respects the historical rights that predate it and are continuously claimed," he said.

"By not accepting or participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, China is simply exercising its legitimate sovereign rights under UNCLOS," he said.

The editorial also urged the U.S. Navy to conduct standard military maneuvers, instead of "innocent passage" operations within the territorial waters of China-owned islands and reefs, and hold joint patrols with regional naval powers such as Australia.

Zhu warned that U.S. military operations in the South China Sea only fuel tensions, and "no country's interests are served by turning the South China Sea into a geopolitical competing ground."

"The United States often emphasizes the importance of reducing tensions and maintaining the space necessary for a diplomatic solution. We hope the United States will match its words with deeds," the spokesman added.

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