Chinese embassy rebuts NY Times editorial on China-Philippines dispute

Updated: 2015-07-30 09:55


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Chinese embassy rebuts NY Times editorial on China-Philippines dispute

Chinese marine surveillance ship Yuzheng 206 carries out regular patrols in the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on March 24. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - The Chinese Embassy in Washington has called the New York Times' July 17 editorial on the China-Philippines dispute over the South China Sea unfair, stressing that China's approach toward this issue is to hold direct bilateral negotiations.

In a letter published Tuesday in the New York Times, the embassy's Press Counselor and Spokesman Zhu Haiquan said that the editorial titled "The South China Sea, in Court" about the arbitration case raised by the Philippines over rights to the South China Sea, is "not fair."

"China, a latecomer to land reclamation, has been exercising utmost restraint. But the status quo has long been broken by the Philippines and some other claimants, which built facilities, including military ones, on the reefs owned by China," Zhu said.

"China calls on relevant parties to shelve their differences and engage in joint development in the South China Sea. Actually in 2005, China, the Philippines and Vietnam conducted joint marine seismic survey in some areas of the sea. It would have set a good precedent if the Philippine government had not changed its mind," the official said.

"China's approach toward solving the South China Sea issue is to have direct dialogue and negotiation between claimants, which is more effective and sustainable. China and the Philippines had tried such talks before, but the Philippine side unilaterally stopped them in 2012," the diplomat said. "Our door remains open, and we are engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in establishing a code of conduct to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea until the disputes are settled."

"The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gives no country the legal right to extend its exclusive economic zone to other country's territories. We do not believe that the arbitration court has jurisdiction, and as a member of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China is entitled to exclude any third-party compulsory settlement," he said.

On July 17, the New York Times released an editorial written by its editorial board, saying that "a courtroom in The Hague has become an important new battleground in the multinational struggle over the resource-rich South China Sea" and that the Philippines "can qualify to have 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones."