China refutes Philippines' S China Sea accusation

Updated: 2013-07-17 04:06


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BEIJING - China on Tuesday hit back at the Philippines' condemnation towards it over the South China Sea issue and reiterated its objection against international arbitration on the matter.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a written statement that "We regret that the Philippines stated that it has become impossible  for it to continue bilateral discussions with China, and are dissatisfied with its refusal to diplomatic negotiation and closure of the door to dialogue."

Her comments came after the Philippine Foreign Ministry issued an eight-point statement on July 15, saying that a Chinese statement on Friday was baseless and China's hard line position made it impossible to continue negotiations and led the Philippines to finally resort to international arbitration.

Hua said on Friday that the Philippines' claim of having exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful settlement of the dispute was completely not true.

China is firmly opposed to the Philippines' indifference to China's lawful rights and interests and legitimate concerns as well as its willful act of pushing for international arbitration, Hua said Tuesday when asked to comment on the Philippines' eight-point statement.

The Philippines' illegal occupation of some of the islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands is the direct cause of the South China Sea dispute between the two countries, she said.

Hua said China sticks to the longstanding position of safeguarding national territorial sovereignty, which is totally legitimate.

Meanwhile, bearing in mind relations between the two nations as well as regional peace and stability, China is committed to solving disputes concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation through bilateral negotiations in accordance with relevant regulations of international law and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), she added.

"This position remains unchanged," Hua said.

The spokeswoman said there had been communication and agreement between China and the Philippines on disputes in the South China Sea.

The two sides reached the important consensus of carrying out cooperation in a step-by-step manner and resolving bilateral disputes through negotiations, she said.

Hua noted there had also been sound cooperation between the two countries.

As approved by the two governments, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company signed an agreement for joint marine seismic undertaking on certain areas of the South China Sea, which later included Vietnam.

The three parties had carried out joint operations, making positive contributions to stability, cooperation and development of the South China Sea, she said.

"However, it is regrettable that over recent years, the Philippines has changed its attitude and approach in handling the issue, went back on its consensus with China, broke its commitment in the DOC, cast aside the framework of dialogue upheld by a majority of countries, refused to cooperate, aggravated the situation and set off the incident of the Huangyan Island last year by harassing Chinese civilians with warships. This cast a shadow over China-Philippines relations and peace and stability of the South China Sea," the spokeswoman said.

The Philippines publicly criticized China during the recently held ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meetings, regardless of the consensus among ASEAN countries, which reasonably drew refutation from China, Hua said.

"It is difficult for China to understand why the Philippines continue to play up the issue of the South China Sea, distort the facts and smear China," she noted.

"The overall situation of the South China Sea is stable," Hua said, noting that China and ASEAN countries have consensus on upholding peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Hua stressed that China will stay committed to safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea with maximum good will and sincerity.

China has never closed the door to negotiation and consultation with the Philippines in the hope of improving and developing bilateral relations, she added.

China urges the Philippines to correct its erroneous actions, make a positive response to China's suggestions in March 2010 and January 2012 respectively on establishing the Sino-Philippine regular consultation mechanism on maritime issues and resuming the Sino-Philippine mechanism on trust-building measures, and come back to the correct track of resolving disputes through bilateral negotiations, said the spokeswoman.