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Dai Bingguo: China not to be intimidated, even if U.S. sends 10 aircraft carriers to South China Sea

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

07-06-2016 14:22 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

The Chinese people would not be intimidated by the U.S. actions, not even if the U.S. sends all its ten aircraft carriers to the South China Sea, said Dai Bingguo, former state councilor of China, on Tuesday at the dialogue on South China Sea between Chinese and U.S. think tanks in Washington, D.C.

Dai said, first, Nansha Islands are China's integral territory; second, China remains committed to peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations with countries directly concerned; and third, the situation in the South China Sea must cool down.

The arbitral tribunal has no jurisdiction over this case. By making a so called "award", it has willfully expanded its power, which is against the UNCLOS and is null and void, he added.

He said, “We hope that the U.S. side will take an objective and fair approach regarding the arbitration, rather than criticizing China for upholding the UNCLOS from the position of a non-state party.”

Dai also said, “One should not be too ready to frame the South China Sea issue as a strategic issue or interpret and predict China's behavior by drawing from western theories of international relations and history.”

“It would be nothing but baseless speculation to assert that China wants to make the South China Sea an Asian Caribbean Sea and impose the Monroe Doctrine to exclude the U.S. from Asia or that China is trying to compete with the U.S. for dominance in the South China Sea, Asia and even the world,” he continued.

“For China, the South China Sea issue is all about territorial sovereignty, security, development and maritime rights and interests. It is all about preventing further tragic losses of territory. China's thinking is as simple as that. And there is no other agenda behind it. We have no intention or capability to engage in ‘strategic rivalry’ with anyone. We have no ambition to rule Asia, still less the Earth. Even in the context of the issue in question, we have never claimed we own the entire South China Sea. We only have one ambition, which is to manage our own affairs well and ensure a decent life and dignity for the nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people,” he said.

“Since last year, the U.S. has intensified its close-in reconnaissance and ‘Freedom of Navigation’ operations targeted at China. The rhetoric of a few people in the U.S. has become blatantly confrontational. How would you feel if you were Chinese? Wouldn't you consider it unhelpful to the U.S. image in the world? This is certainly not the way China and the U.S. should interact with each other,” he added.

“Having said that, we in China would not be intimidated by the U.S. actions, not even if the U.S. sent all the ten aircraft carriers to the South China Sea. Furthermore, U.S. intervention on the issue has led some countries to believe that the U.S. is on their side and they stand to gain from the competition between major countries. As a result, we have seen more provocations from these countries, adding uncertainties and escalating tensions in the South China Sea. This, in fact, is not in the interest of the U.S. The risk for the U.S. is that it may be dragged into trouble against its own will and pay an unexpectedly heavy price,” said Dai.

The daylong closed session between Chinese and U.S. think tanks was jointly organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, in coordination with the National Institute for South China Sea Studies and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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