South China Sea must not become a “hunting ground” for American geopolitical interests: FM
Photo by Zhao Lijian: VCG
China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the United States for deliberately stoking disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea, following comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday that an attack against the Philippines in the South China Sea would trigger a defense treaty. .
The comments came in a statement marking the fifth anniversary of a ruling by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal, which dismissed China’s land claims and was ruled invalid.
“Anyone with a keen eye can easily see that arbitration is a political farce initiated and manipulated by the United States to smear and suppress China. The political agenda of the United States to skyrocket the South China Sea issue by taking advantage of the 5th anniversary of the illegal reward could not be more evident, ”Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday. , Zhao Lijian.
The arbitral tribunal’s decision was grossly flawed in fact-finding and law enforcement, violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is invalid, Zhao said.
“China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea have been shaped through history. They are fully supported by an abundant historical and legal basis and supported by the Chinese government from the start. Until the 1970s, no country raised any objection to China’s position. The US assertion that China’s maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea are not based on international law is against the facts, ”Zhao said.
The arbitration award is illegal, null and void. It is nothing more than old paper. China does not accept or participate in the arbitration, nor does it accept or recognize the award, Zhao said.
“China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea are not at all affected by the decision, and China does not accept any claims or actions based on it.”
Unlike aggressive U.S. military actions in the South China Sea, China has always been committed to resolving the issue through friendly negotiations and consultations while showing maximum restraint in safeguarding sovereignty. , rights and interests in the region, Zhao said.
“Since the start of this year, the United States has conducted nearly 2,000 aerial and maritime reconnaissance of China and conducted more than 20 large-scale military exercises at sea. The United States is also abusing bilateral military agreements with a Cold War mentality to threaten to use force against China, exposing its political logic of power and its hegemonic attitude, ”Zhao said.
“The truth speaks for itself as to who is engaging in coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea and who threatens the freedom and safety of navigation,” he added.
The United States often claims to be a “defender of international law,” so we ask the United States to join UNCLOS, Zhao said.
“The United States applies international law and rules where it chooses and rejects them when they do not suit. This pragmatism, self-interest and double standard has long been exposed to the world, ”Zhao said.
About 30% of global merchandise trade passes through the South China Sea, and around 100,000 merchant ships pass through the South China Sea each year.
“Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and other countries in the region, the South China Sea has been free and safe for some time. I have not heard of any vessel stranded or threatened in the South China Sea, ”Zhao said, noting that the sea is the common home of countries in the region and should not become a“ land of peace ”. hunt ”for the United States. its own geopolitical interests.
We urge the United States to stop abusing international law, to stop provocating in the South China Sea, to respect China’s sovereign rights and interests in the region, and not to engage further in the wrong path, Zhao said.
China will continue to firmly defend its sovereignty and security according to law, friendly relations and cooperation with countries in the region, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea, Zhao said.