BEIJING — China has urged the Philippines not to exacerbate the current situation in the South China Sea.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press briefing while commenting on the establishment of a Philippine kindergarten on Zhongye Island in the South China Sea.
Hong said China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters.
He said China opposes what Hong described as any illegal activity that may infringe on China’s sovereignty.
Hong said he hopes relevant countries he did not identify will abide by what he called the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
In the 2002 Declaration, the parties — China and the ASEAN member countries — reaffirmed, among others, their “commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and other universally recognized principles of international law which shall serve as the basic norms governing state-to-state relations;
“Respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea as provided for by the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
Under the Declaration, the parties pledged to “resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned…”
In Phnom Penh last April, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said, during the Retreat Session of the 20th ASEAN Summit:
“The Philippines considers the peaceful resolution of the disputes in the West Philippine Sea through a rules-based approach under relevant dispute-settlement mechanisms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as paramount to regional peace, stability, and progress.”
Asked Monday whether Chinese ships have withdrawn from Huangyan Island, Hong said tension around the island is easing.
But he said Chinese government ships maintain jurisdiction and vigilance over the areas around Huangyan Island.(PNA/Xinhua)