A three-minute video promoting China's historical role and standing in the South China Sea is playing in Times Square.
The video, displayed high above 2 Times Square, showcases the beauty of South China Sea and the Nanhai Zhudao.
The video also details the history of the region and stresses that China is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited the islands and relevant waters.
"Whether in terms of historical or legal perspective, China is the only true owner of the Nansha Islands," Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute of South China Sea Studies, says in the video.
Besides Wu, the film also features other Chinese and foreign experts, including John Ross, former policy director of Economic and Business Policy of London, and Catherine West, shadow secretary of state and foreign affairs of the British Labor Party.
The video describes China's indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao (the sea's islands), saying it has historical and legal basis and disputes the unilaterally initiated arbitration by the Philippines.
"Most of my US classmates and professors agree that the arbitral tribunal (at The Hague) does not have jurisdiction over this case," said Du Ziwei, a law student from China who is taking summer classes at Columbia University in New York. "As we are all law students, the South China Sea disputes have been a heated topic among us. And I'm very moved to see this video, which shows our country's effort on introducing and explaining to the world its position on this issue," Du said.
The video supports China's dual-track approach, which argues that relevant disputes should be solved through friendly consultations and negotiations between the states directly concerned; and peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN countries.
"I feel educated about the issue after seeing the clip, especially about China's standpoint," said Patrick Joyce, a Boston photographer visiting New York. "It's a good decision for the country to try resolving the dispute peacefully, and I appreciate the US' decision to remain impartial on this issue."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the US would not take a position on the July 12 arbitral ruling in the Philippines' favor in his meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting.
The arbitral tribunal appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled that China has no "historic title" over the South China Sea. China responded that it would neither recognize nor implement the ruling, calling it illegal and not based on historical facts.
The film first appeared in Times Square on July 23, and will be played 120 times a day until Aug 3.
Lei Songtao, a student from Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, was taking pictures of the video.
"It is surprising to see a video about a serious political issue among all those commercial advertisements in Times Square," said Lei, who is participating in a summer program in New York University. "And I feel proud that my country is presenting her voice in the busiest district in New York."
"Hopefully the video can enable more people to understand why China made that choice as it is played in Times Square, a place attracting a large amount of attention from people," said Selena Zhang, a Chinese student taking summer classes at Columbia University. "I'm also looking forward to seeing more publicity of this kind, which expresses China’s voices to people all around the world."