Who is challenging international order?

Source: XinhuaEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-02-01 19:14

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. intrusive move to send a navy vessel without China's authorization into waters adjacent to Chinese-owned islands show that Washington is threatening the sovereignty of other countries and challenging the international order.

A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, on Saturday sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Zhongjian Dao in the Xisha Islands, which, according to the U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's office, was "innocent passage" and "consistent with international law."

However, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), innocent passage has its conditions -- it should not be "prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State."

Besides, the UN law also stipulates that foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea shall comply with related laws and regulations the coastal State may adopt.

According to China's law on the territorial sea and contiguous zone enacted in 1992, foreign warships entering China's territorial waters should obtain prior approval from the Chinese government.

Obviously, the U.S. warship's incursion into China's territorial sea without authorization violated both Chinese and international law.

And this was not the first instance of the U.S. infringement on international law. Just 95 days ago, the U.S. Navy sailed the USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of the Zhubi Reef, part of China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

The U.S. repeated moves have not only threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, but also undermined regional peace and stability.

Ironically, Washington unreasonably pointed its fingers at China, accusing Beijing of posing a threat to the "freedom of navigation" in the South China Sea and taking measures of "challenging the international order."

Washington's unfounded accusation obviously goes against common sense as the international order should not be unilaterally defined by any single country.

The current international order was jointly established by the international community with the United Nations at its core, on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

The fundamental principle regarding the international order is based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, equal treatment and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Just as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has said, China has long played an active role in and made remarkable contribution to promoting world peace and development and properly resolving international and regional issues.

Under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, China launched the task of carrying out anti-piracy escort missions in the Gulf of Aden off the waters of Somalia in late 2008.

In addition, China has also completed the operations of escorting the shipping of chemical weapons out of Syria for destruction and helped many countries deal with natural disasters.

The Chinese navy's pragmatic exchanges and cooperation with other countries have ensured the safety of some strategic maritime passages in the world.

In fact, China, as a signatory to the UNCLOS, has been committed to preserving the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and to safeguarding peace and stability in the region.

As most of the region's flow of commerce in foreign trade passes through the sea lanes in the South China Sea, it is in the fundamental interest of all coastal countries, including China, to preserve the freedom of navigation in the area.

In order to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have been endeavoring to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and striving for the signing of a full code of conduct in the waters as soon as possible.

Moreover, a lot of countries in the region and the Asia-Pacific as a whole will benefit from the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, a development strategy promoting openness, inclusiveness and win-win results.

Facts have proved that China, instead of doing any harm to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, has provided public services to ensure the safety of all vessels sailing in the waters.

At a time when the whole world is pursuing peace, development, cooperation and win-win results, China will firmly stick to its path of peaceful development, which serves its fundamental interests and meets the common aspiration of all countries and people in the region.

It is advisable for Washington to contribute more to regional peace and cooperation, rather than making waves in the South China Sea and then pointing a finger at others on trumped-up charges.

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