Naval drill is fully within coun­try’s ‘sov­er­eign rights’

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - ByWANG QINGYUN wangqingyun@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

China said its naval drill in the South China Sea is within its sov­er­eign rights, and it urged the Philip­pines to come back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble to solve its mar­itime dis­putes with China re­gard­less of an ar­bi­trary tri­bunal’s rul­ing.

“The drill is a rou­tine ex­er­cise the Chi­nese Navy car­ries out ac­cord­ing to the an­nual plan. It is with­inChina’s sov­er­eign rights and is not tar­get­ing any spe­cific coun­tries,” For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei said onWed­nes­day.

Hong made the re­marks af­ter Viet­nam claimed the drill was vi­o­lat­ing Viet­namese sovereignty.

The Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense con­firmed on Tues­day that China would hold a drill in the area be­tweenHainan Is­land and the Xisha Is­lands in the first 10 days of July and that mil­i­tary equip­ment in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple ships and fixed-wing air­craft would par­tic­i­pate.

The De­fense Min­istry said the drill “aims at im­prov­ing the mil­i­tary’s abil­ity to re­spond to se­cu­rity threats and im­ple­ment mis­sions”.

“The Xisha Is­lands are China’s in­her­ent ter­ri­tory. There is no dis­pute of this,” Hong re­it­er­ated on Wed­nes­day. He asked the par­ties con­cerned to “ob­jec­tively view” the drill.

The drill takes place ahead of rul­ing ex­pected on July 12 in the ar­bi­tra­tion case the Philip­pines filed in 2013 against China over dis­putes in the South China Sea.

“China will not ac­cept any coun­try’s claim or ac­tion based on the so-called rul­ing”, Hong said, af­ter Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte is re­ported to have said the Philip­pines is ready to talk to China if the rul­ing is in the Philip­pines’ fa­vor.

Hon­gre­it­er­ated thatt­hear­bi­tra­tion case filed by the Aquino III ad­min­is­tra­tion is “il­le­gal and in­valid from the start”, and he urged the new Philip­pine gov­ern­ment to “aban­don the old ad­min­is­tra­tion’s wrong prac­tice” and “come back to the proper path of talk­ing and ne­go­ti­at­ing with China”.

Xu Lip­ing, a re­searcher at the Na­tional In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Strat­egy of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said China is not con­cerned about whom the rul­ing will fa­vor as it has al­ready made clear that it will not ac­cept or par­tic­i­pate in, ac­knowl­edge or im­ple­ment the rul­ing.

Xu sug­gested that the Philip­pines cool down and be low key about the rul­ing. He said he is “cau­tiously op­ti­mistic” that the Philip­pines will re­turn to the con­sen­sus it reached with China, which is to deal with its mar­itime dis­putes with China through bi­lat­eral talks.

The drill is a rou­tine ex­er­cise ... and it is not tar­get­ing any spe­cific coun­tries.”

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