BEIJING, June 16 (ChinaMil) -- There has been an increasing international focus on the development of the situation in the South China Sea as the results of the arbitration initiated by the Philippines will be released soon.
The good news is, China defends its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, safeguards regional peace and stability, insists on the stance that countries concerned should resolve the South China Sea issue through peaceful negotiations according to the "United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea" (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention") and such practice is gaining more and more international recognition and support.
According to statistics, more than 50 countries support China's stance. The League of Arab States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other major international and regional organizations have also expressed their understanding and support for China's position.
Understanding and support from the international community reflect the recognition of and respect for international law. Since the Philippines’ unilateral arbitration attempt and China's position of neither participating in nor accepting the arbitration, some officials, academics and media of the Philippines, the United States, Japan and other countries have been "demonizing" China, accusing China of "despising the Convention and international law," "unilaterally changing the status quo," and "threatening regional peace and stability and freedom of navigation." These irresponsible remarks aim to put China on the opposite side of international morality, justice and law.
However, it is obvious that the above slander and libel are unjustified and weak. The arbitration attempt by the Philippines is a political farce dressed in a legal cloak.
The case is, after all, about sovereignty dispute. The arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction in the case but it still accepted and endorsed the Philippines’ demands. This is clearly contrary to the spirit of the Convention and will certainly yield no constructive results.
China adopted the position of neither participating in nor accepting the arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the Convention. This is completely legal. The international community expressed understanding and support for China based on respect for international law and the sincere hope to uphold international law and international order.
Understanding and support from the international community reflect the objective understanding and judgment on the history and fact of the South China Sea dispute.
The Philippines has been trying to whitewash itself as an "innocent victim and a small country." But the well-known fact is, before the 1970s, the Philippines’ territorial claims did not include China's Nansha Islands and Huangyan Island. But since then, the Philippines had continuously occupied eight reefs in China's Nansha Islands.
The Philippines illegally occupied China’s reefs, conducted provocative actions in the relevant area of Nansha to challenge China’s maritime rights and unilaterally filed arbitration over the South China Sea dispute.
This can only fool some people for some time, but it cannot fool everyone forever. With the truth being recognized by more and more countries and international organizations, the Philippines’ hoax was also debunked.
Understanding and support from the international community reflect their recognition and praise for China’s efforts in keeping the South China Sea stable. Peace and stability in the South China Sea is a blessing for the region and for the world as well while turbulence in the area would become a tragedy for the whole world.
As a responsible neighboring country in the South China Sea, China has always been committed to working with the ASEAN to promote peace and stability and ensure the security and freedom of navigation in the area.
China is the first country outside Southeast Asia to join "Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia". Meanwhile, China and 10 ASEAN countries signed the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)."
China has been committed to the ongoing consultations and negotiations with other countries who have claims to the South China Sea, while trying to control the crisis and to promote maritime cooperation under the DOC framework. We can say that China needs peace and stability and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea more than any other country does.
The U.S., on the contrary, has become the biggest promoter of the tense situation in the South China Sea and the biggest outsider in the South China Sea dispute.
In addition to "choose sides" and "position of partiality," the U.S. takes various means including deterrence, challenge and alliance formation to get involved in the South China Sea dispute. Undoubtedly, the U.S. is the biggest threat to regional peace and stability.
In China, there is a saying "justice will prevail." Unfortunately, a few countries have regained the Cold War mentality for selfish purposes, hoping to put together the "Asian version of NATO" and to contain China's development. These actions are against the trend of "pursuit of peace, development, cooperation and win-win" of the times. The "judicial anti-China chorus" will also come to a close and fade away.
The author is He Sheng, director of the Center for Marine Strategy Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.