Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > China Video

Expert: Negotiation is only way for South China Sea issues

Reporter: Han Bin 丨 CCTV.com

07-01-2016 14:28 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

The Philippines' arbitration case against China has created significant debate in the South China Sea disputes. The Nansha Island, also knows as the Spratlys, are at the heart of the case. With the prospect of a ruling from the tribunal to come soon, Chinese experts are clarifying the core meaning of the case from the Chinese perspectives. CCTV reporter interviewed Wu Shicun, an authority on South China Sea issues. He believes the arbitration is against international law, and the only way for a peaceful resolution is to respect the commitment for negotiations.

This map indicates the disputes in the Nansha Islands. Wu Shicun says China’s claims are based on historic evidence. The Nansha islands, also known as the Spratlys, are the subject of the biggest quarrels.

Neighboring countries have competing claims on certain islands and reefs, often involving actual control.

"China had long been the master of the Nansha Islands, centuries before the Philippines' so-called discovery and its illegal occupation. After World War Two, in accordance with the Cairo Declaration, and the Potsdam Proclamation, China resumed sovereignty of the territories stolen by Japan, and continued jurisdiction over the Nansha Islands," said Wu Shicun, President of National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Wu Shicun says the Philippine claims over the islands and reefs in the Nanshas started only in the 1970s, based on national interest. The claims are relying on the interpretation of a UN Convention and the practice of geographic proximity and effective control.

China’s claims date long before the Philippines even achieved independence. It believes the origin of the dispute is the Philippines' illegal occupation. The Philippines claims have always met with Chinese protests. China says geographic proximity cannot support the claims. And the principle of “land dominating the sea” refutes the extension of jurisdiction from water to land features.

The push for arbitration goes beyond Manila and Beijing.

"The US does not want to see a peaceful South China Sea. To implement its pivot to Asia strategy, it is creating tensions in the region. Now 60 percent of the US maritime strength has been deployed to the Asia-Pacific. Based from its own domestic politics and the special push by the US, the Philippines has been taking a more assertive attitude in consolidating its claims over the islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands," said Wu.

Chinese experts believe the arbitration is a denial of history and is making the settlement even more difficult.

"The UN Charter clearly stipulates that negotiation is the priority solution for settling territorial disputes. China has reached consensus with claimant neighbors and ASEAN members to resolve territorial disputes and maritime delimitation through negotiation," said Wu.

Many believe the arbitration will not help resolve territorial dispute in the South China Sea. By submitting the notification, the Philippines has closed the door to consultation. As China rejects any ruling, in the end, going back to the negotiating table will be the only way for a peaceful resolution.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat