Pol­icy: China ded­i­cated to keep­ing peace, sta­bil­ity

China Daily (Canada) - - DOCUMENT -

and Re­source In­for­ma­tion Au­thor­ity on 28 Oc­to­ber 1994, stated that “the ter­ri­to­rial bound­aries and sovereignty of the Repub­lic of the Philip­pines are es­tab­lished in Ar­ti­cle III of the Treaty of Paris signed on De­cem­ber 10, 1898”, and con­firmed that the “Ter­ri­to­rial Lim­its shown in the of­fi­cial Map No. 25 is­sued by the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources through the Na­tional Map­ping and Re­source In­for­ma­tion Au­thor­ity, are fully cor­rect and show the ac­tual sta­tus”. As de­scribed above, the Treaty of Paris and other two treaties de­fine the ter­ri­to­rial lim­its of the Philip­pines, and China’s Huangyan Dao clearly lies out­side those lim­its. Philip­pine Of­fi­cial Map No. 25 re­flects this. In a let­ter dated 18 Novem­ber 1994 to the Amer­i­can Ra­dio Re­lay League, Inc., the Philip­pine Am­a­teur Ra­dio As­so­ci­a­tion, Inc. wrote that, “one very im­por­tant fact re­mains, the na­tional agency con­cerned had stated that based on Ar­ti­cle III of the Treaty of Paris signed on De­cem­ber 10, 1898, Scar­bor­ough Reef lies just out­side the ter­ri­to­rial bound­aries of the Philip­pines”.

111. In April 1997, the Philip­pines turned its back on its pre­vi­ous po­si­tion that Huangyan Dao is not part of the Philip­pine ter­ri­tory. The Philip­pines tracked, mon­i­tored and dis­rupted an in­ter­na­tional ra­dio ex­pe­di­tion on Huangyan Dao or­ga­nized by the Chi­nese Ra­dio Sports As­so­ci­a­tion. In dis­re­gard of his­tor­i­cal facts, the Philip­pines laid its ter­ri­to­rial claim to Huangyan Dao on the grounds that it is lo­cated within the 200-nau­ti­cal-mile ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone claimed by the Philip­pines. In this re­gard, China made rep­re­sen­ta­tions sev­eral times to the Philip­pines, point­ing out ex­plic­itly that Huangyan Dao is China’s in­her­ent ter­ri­tory and that the Philip­pines’ claim is ground­less, il­le­gal and void.

112. On 17 Fe­bru­ary 2009, the Philip­pine Congress passed Repub­lic Act No. 9522. That act il­le­gally in­cludes into the Philip­pines’ ter­ri­tory China’s Huangyan Dao and some is­lands and reefs of Nan­sha Qun­dao. China im­me­di­ately made rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the Philip­pines and is­sued a state­ment, re­it­er­at­ing China’s sovereignty over Huangyan Dao, Nan­sha Qun­dao and the ad­ja­cent wa­ters, and declar­ing in ex­plicit terms that any ter­ri­to­rial claim over them made by any other coun­try is il­le­gal and void.

113. On 10 April 2012, the Philip­pines’ naval ves­sel BRP Gre­go­rio del Pi­lar (PF-15) in­truded into the ad­ja­cent wa­ters of China’s Huangyan Dao, il­le­gally seized Chi­nese fish­er­men and fish­ing boats op­er­at­ing there and treated the fish­er­men in a grossly in­hu­mane man­ner, thus de­lib­er­ately caus­ing the Huangyan Dao In­ci­dent. In re­sponse to the Philip­pines’ provo­ca­tion, China im­me­di­ately made mul­ti­ple strong rep­re­sen­ta­tions to Philip­pine of­fi­cials in Bei­jing and Manila to protest the Philip­pines’ vi­o­la­tion of China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and harsh treat­ment of Chi­nese fish­er­men, and de­manded that the Philip­pines im­me­di­ately with­draw all its ves­sels and per­son­nel. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment also promptly dis­patched China Mar­itime Sur­veil­lance and China Fish­eries Law En­force­ment ves­sels to Huangyan Dao to pro­tect China’s sovereignty and res­cue the Chi­nese fish­er­men. In June 2012, af­ter firm rep­re­sen­ta­tions re­peat­edly made by China, the Philip­pines with­drew rel­e­vant ves­sels and per­son­nel from Huangyan Dao.

114. The Philip­pines’ claim of sovereignty over China’s Huangyan Dao is com­pletely base­less un­der in­ter­na­tional law. The il­le­gal claim that “Huangyan Dao is within the Philip­pines’ 200-nau­ti­cal-mile ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone so it is Philip­pine ter­ri­tory” is a pre­pos­ter­ous and de­lib­er­ate dis­tor­tion of in­ter­na­tional law. By send­ing its naval ves­sel to in­trude into Huangyan Dao’s ad­ja­cent wa­ters, the Philip­pines grossly vi­o­lated China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty, the Char­ter of the United Na­tions and fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law. By in­sti­gat­ing mass in­tru­sion of its ves­sels and per­son­nel into wa­ters of Huangyan Dao, the Philip­pines bla­tantly vi­o­lated China’s sovereignty and sov­er­eign rights therein. The Philip­pines’ il­le­gal seizure of Chi­nese fish­er­men en­gaged in nor­mal op­er­a­tions in wa­ters of Huangyan Dao and the sub­se­quent in­hu­mane treat­ment of them are gross vi­o­la­tions of their dig­nity and hu­man rights. Sea and vi­o­lated its own solemn com­mit­ment in the DOC. De­lib­er­ately pack­ag­ing the rel­e­vant dis­putes as mere is­sues con­cern­ing the in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion of UNCLOS while knowing full well that ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes are not sub­ject to UNCLOS and that mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion dis­putes have been ex­cluded from the UNCLOS com­pul­sory dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures by China’s 2006 dec­la­ra­tion, the Philip­pines has wan­tonly abused the UNCLOS dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures. This ini­ti­a­tion of ar­bi­tra­tion aims not to set­tle its dis­putes with China, but to deny China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests in the South China Sea. This course of con­duct is taken out of bad faith.

116. First, by uni­lat­er­ally ini­ti­at­ing ar­bi­tra­tion, the Philip­pines has vi­o­lated its stand­ing agree­ment with China to set­tle the rel­e­vant dis­putes through bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tion. In rel­e­vant bi­lat­eral doc­u­ments, China and the Philip­pines have agreed to set­tle through ne­go­ti­a­tion their dis­putes in the South China Sea and reaf­firmed this agree­ment many times. China and the Philip­pines made solemn com­mit­ment in the DOC to set­tle through ne­go­ti­a­tion rel­e­vant dis­putes in the South China Sea, which has been re­peat­edly af­firmed in bi­lat­eral doc­u­ments. The above bi­lat­eral doc­u­ments be­tween China and the Philip­pines and rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions in the DOC are mu­tu­ally re­in­forc­ing and con­sti­tute an agree­ment in this re­gard be­tween the two states. By this agree­ment, they have cho­sen to set­tle the rel­e­vant dis­putes through ne­go­ti­a­tion and to ex­clude any third party pro­ce­dure, in­clud­ing ar­bi­tra­tion. Pacta sunt ser­vanda. This fun­da­men­tal norm of in­ter­na­tional law must be ob­served. The Philip­pines’ breach of its own solemn com­mit­ment is a de­lib­er­ate act of bad faith. Such an act does not gen­er­ate any right for the Philip­pines, nor does it im­pose any obli­ga­tion on China.

117. Sec­ond, by uni­lat­er­ally ini­ti­at­ing ar­bi­tra­tion, the Philip­pines has vi­o­lated China’s right to choose means of dis­pute set­tle­ment of its own will as a state party to UNCLOS. Ar­ti­cle 280 of Part XV of UNCLOS stip­u­lates: “Noth­ing in this Part im­pairs the right of any States Par­ties to agree at any time to set­tle a dis­pute be­tween them con­cern­ing the in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion of this Con­ven­tion by any peace­ful means of their own choice.” Ar­ti­cle 281 of UNCLOS pro­vides: “If the States Par­ties which are par­ties to a dis­pute con­cern­ing the in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion of this Con­ven­tion have agreed to seek set­tle­ment of the dis­pute by a peace­ful means of their own choice, the pro­ce­dures pro­vided for in this Part ap­ply only where no set­tle­ment has been reached by re­course to such means and the agree­ment be­tween the par­ties does not ex­clude any fur­ther pro­ce­dure”. Given that China and the Philip­pines have made an un­equiv­o­cal choice to set­tle through ne­go­ti­a­tion the rel­e­vant dis­putes, the com­pul­sory third­party dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures un­der UNCLOS do not ap­ply.

118. Third, by uni­lat­er­ally ini­ti­at­ing ar­bi­tra­tion, the Philip­pines has abused the UNCLOS dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures. The essence of the sub­ject-mat­ter of the ar­bi­tra­tion ini­ti­ated by the Philip­pines is an is­sue of ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty over some is­lands and reefs of Nan­sha Qun­dao, and the res­o­lu­tion of the rel­e­vant mat­ters also con­sti­tutes an in­te­gral part of mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion be­tween China and the Philip­pines. Land ter­ri­to­rial is­sues are not reg­u­lated by UNCLOS. In 2006, pur­suant to Ar­ti­cle 298 of UNCLOS, China made an op­tional ex­cep­tions dec­la­ra­tion ex­clud­ing from the com­pul­sory dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures of UNCLOS dis­putes con­cern­ing, among oth­ers, mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion, his­toric bays or ti­tles, mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties. Such dec­la­ra­tions made by about 30 states, in­clud­ing China, form an in­te­gral part of the UNCLOS dis­pute set­tle­ment mech­a­nism. By cam­ou­flag­ing its sub­mis­sions, the Philip­pines de­lib­er­ately cir­cum­vented the op­tional ex­cep­tions dec­la­ra­tion made by China and the lim­i­ta­tion that land ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes are not sub­ject to UNCLOS, and uni­lat­er­ally ini­ti­ated the ar­bi­tra­tion. This course of con­duct con­sti­tutes an abuse of the UNCLOS dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures.

119. Fourth, in or­der to push for­ward the ar­bi­tral pro­ceed­ings, the Philip­pines has dis­torted facts, mis­in­ter­preted laws and con­cocted a pack of lies: — The Philip­pines, fully aware that its sub­mis­sions con­cern China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty in the South China Sea, and that ter­ri­to­rial is­sue is not sub­ject to UNCLOS, de­lib­er­ately mis­char­ac­ter­izes and pack­ages the rel­e­vant is­sue as those con­cern­ing the in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion of UNCLOS; — The Philip­pines, fully aware that its sub­mis­sions con­cern mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion, and that China has made a dec­la­ra­tion, pur­suant to Ar­ti­cle 298 of UNCLOS, ex­clud­ing dis­putes con­cern­ing, among oth­ers, mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion from the UNCLOS third-party dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures, in­ten­tion­ally de­taches the di­verse fac­tors that shall be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion in the process of a mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion and treat them in an iso­lated way, in or­der to cir­cum­vent China’s op­tional ex­cep­tions dec­la­ra­tion; — The Philip­pines de­lib­er­ately mis­rep­re­sents cer­tain con­sul­ta­tions with China on mar­itime af­fairs and co­op­er­a­tion, all of a gen­eral na­ture, as ne­go­ti­a­tions over the sub­ject-mat­ters of the ar­bi­tra­tion, and fur­ther claims that bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions there­fore have been ex­hausted, de­spite the fact that the two states have never en­gaged in any ne­go­ti­a­tion on those sub­ject-mat­ters; — The Philip­pines claims that it does not seek a de­ter­mi­na­tion of any ter­ri­to­rial is­sue or a de­lim­i­ta­tion of any mar­itime boundary, and yet many times in the course of the ar­bi­tral pro­ceed­ings, es­pe­cially dur­ing the oral hear­ings, it de­nies China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests in the South China Sea; — The Philip­pines turns a blind eye to China’s con­sis­tent po­si­tion and prac­tice on the South China Sea is­sue, and makes a com­pletely false as­ser­tion that China lays an ex­clu­sive claim of mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests to the en­tire South China Sea; — The Philip­pines ex­ag­ger­ates West­ern colo­nial­ists’ role in the South China Sea in his­tory and de­nies the his­tor­i­cal facts and cor­re­spond­ing le­gal ef­fect of China’s long­stand­ing ex­plo­ration, ex­ploita­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion in his­tory of rel­e­vant wa­ters of the South China Sea; — The Philip­pines puts to­gether some re­motely rel­e­vant and woe­fully weak pieces of ev­i­dence and makes far-fetched in­fer­ences to sup­port its sub­mis­sions; — The Philip­pines, in or­der to make out its claims, ar­bi­trar­ily in­ter­prets rules of in­ter­na­tional law, and re­sorts to highly con­tro­ver­sial le­gal cases and unau­thor­i­ta­tive per­sonal opin­ions in large quan­tity.

120. In short, the Philip­pines’ uni­lat­eral ini­ti­a­tion of ar­bi­tra­tion con­tra­venes in­ter­na­tional law in­clud­ing the UNCLOS dis­pute set­tle­ment mech­a­nism. The Ar­bi­tral Tri­bunal in the South China Sea ar­bi­tra­tion es­tab­lished at the Philip­pines’ uni­lat­eral re­quest has, ab ini­tio, no ju­ris­dic­tion, and awards ren­dered by it are null and void and have no bind­ing force. China’s ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests in the South China Sea shall un­der no cir­cum­stances be af­fected by those awards. China does not ac­cept or rec­og­nize those awards. China op­poses and will never ac­cept any claim or ac­tion based on those awards. 121. China is an im­por­tant force for main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea. It abides by the pur­poses and prin­ci­ples of the Char­ter of the United Na­tions and is com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing and pro­mot­ing in­ter­na­tional rule of law. It re­spects and acts in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law. While firmly safe­guard­ing its ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty and mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests, China ad­heres to the po­si­tion of set­tling dis­putes through ne­go­ti­a­tion and con­sul­ta­tion and man­ag­ing dif­fer­ences through rules and mech­a­nisms. China en­deav­ors to achieve win-win out­comes through mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion, and is com­mit­ted to mak­ing the South China Sea a sea of peace, co­op­er­a­tion and friend­ship.

122. China is com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea with other coun­tries in the re­gion and up­hold­ing the free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight in the South China Sea en­joyed by other coun­tries un­der in­ter­na­tional law. China urges coun­tries out­side this re­gion to re­spect the ef­forts in this re­gard by coun­tries in the re­gion and to play a con­struc­tive role in main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea. 123. China is firm in up­hold­ing its sovereignty over Nan­hai Zhu­dao and their sur­round­ing wa­ters. Some coun­tries have made il­le­gal ter­ri­to­rial claims over and oc­cu­pied by force some is­lands and reefs of Nan­sha Qun­dao. These il­le­gal claims and oc­cu­pa­tion con­sti­tute gross vi­o­la­tions of the Char­ter of the United Na­tions and ba­sic norms gov­ern­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. They are null and void. China con­sis­tently and res­o­lutely op­poses such ac­tions and de­mands that rel­e­vant states stop their vi­o­la­tion of China’s ter­ri­tory.

124. China has spared no ef­forts to set­tle, on the ba­sis of re­spect­ing his­tor­i­cal facts, rel­e­vant dis­putes with the Philip­pines and other coun­tries di­rectly con­cerned, through ne­go­ti­a­tion in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law.

125. It is uni­ver­sally rec­og­nized that land ter­ri­to­rial is­sues are not reg­u­lated by UNCLOS. Thus, the ter­ri­to­rial is­sue in Nan­sha Qun­dao is not sub­ject to UNCLOS. 126. China main­tains that the is­sue of mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion in the South China Sea should be set­tled eq­ui­tably through ne­go­ti­a­tion with coun­tries di­rectly con­cerned in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law, in­clud­ing UNCLOS. Pend­ing the fi­nal set­tle­ment of this is­sue, all rel­e­vant par­ties must ex­er­cise self-re­straint in the con­duct of ac­tiv­i­ties that may com­pli­cate or es­ca­late dis­putes and af­fect peace and sta­bil­ity.

127. When rat­i­fy­ing UNCLOS in 1996, China stated that, “The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China will ef­fect, through con­sul­ta­tions, the de­lim­i­ta­tion of the boundary of the mar­itime ju­ris­dic­tion with the States with coasts op­po­site or ad­ja­cent to China re­spec­tively on the ba­sis of in­ter­na­tional law and in ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ple of eq­ui­tabil­ity.” China’s po­si­tions in this re­gard are fur­ther elab­o­rated in the 1998 Law of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China on the Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone and the Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf. This Law pro­vides that, “The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China shall de­ter­mine the de­lim­i­ta­tion of its ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone and con­ti­nen­tal shelf in re­spect of the over­lap­ping claims by agree­ment with the states with op­po­site or ad­ja­cent coasts, in ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ple of eq­ui­tabil­ity and on the ba­sis of in­ter­na­tional law”, and that, “The pro­vi­sions in this law shall not af­fect the his­tor­i­cal rights that the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China has been en­joy­ing ever since the days of the past”.

128. China does not ac­cept any uni­lat­eral ac­tion at­tempt­ing to en­force mar­itime claims against China. Nor does China rec­og­nize any ac­tion that may jeop­ar­dize its mar­itime rights and in­ter­ests in the South China Sea. 129. Based on an in-depth un­der­stand­ing of in­ter­na­tional prac­tice and its own rich prac­tice, China firmly be­lieves that no mat­ter what mech­a­nism or means is cho­sen for set­tling dis­putes be­tween any coun­tries, the con­sent of states con­cerned should be the ba­sis of that choice, and the will of sov­er­eign states should not be vi­o­lated.

130. On is­sues con­cern­ing ter­ri­tory and mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion, China does not ac­cept any means of dis­pute set­tle­ment im­posed on it, nor does it ac­cept any re­course to third-party set­tle­ment. On 25 Au­gust 2006, China de­posited, pur­suant to Ar­ti­cle 298 of UNCLOS, with the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of the United Na­tions a dec­la­ra­tion, stat­ing that, “The Gov­ern­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China does not ac­cept any of the pro­ce­dures pro­vided for in Sec­tion 2 of Part XV of the Con­ven­tion with re­spect to all the cat­e­gories of dis­putes re­ferred to in para­graph 1 (a), (b) and (c) of Ar­ti­cle 298 of the Con­ven­tion”. This ex­plic­itly ex­cludes from UNCLOS com­pul­sory dis­pute set­tle­ment pro­ce­dures dis­putes con­cern­ing mar­itime de­lim­i­ta­tion, his­toric bays or ti­tles, mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, and dis­putes in re­spect of which the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of the United Na­tions is ex­er­cis­ing the func­tions as­signed to it by the Char­ter of the United Na­tions.

131. Since its found­ing, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China has signed boundary treaties with 12 of its 14 land neigh­bors through bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions and con­sul­ta­tions in a spirit of equal­ity and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing, and about 90% of China’s land bound­aries have been de­lim­ited and de­mar­cated. China and Viet­nam have de­lim­ited through ne­go­ti­a­tions the boundary be­tween their ter­ri­to­rial seas, ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zones and con­ti­nen­tal shelves in the Beibu Bay. China’s sin­cer­ity in set­tling dis­putes through ne­go­ti­a­tion and its un­remit­ting ef­forts made in this re­spect are known to all. It is self-ev­i­dent that ne­go­ti­a­tion di­rectly re­flects the will of states. The par­ties di­rectly par­tic­i­pate in the for­mu­la­tion of the re­sult. Prac­tice demon­strates that a ne­go­ti­ated out­come will bet­ter gain the un­der­stand­ing and sup­port of the peo­ple of coun­tries con­cerned, will be ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented and will be durable. Only when an agree­ment is reached by par­ties con­cerned through ne­go­ti­a­tion on an equal foot­ing can a dis­pute be set­tled once and for all, and this will en­sure the full and ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment. 132. In keep­ing with in­ter­na­tional law and prac­tice, pend­ing fi­nal set­tle­ment of mar­itime dis­putes, the states con­cerned should ex­er­cise re­straint and make every ef­fort to en­ter into pro­vi­sional ar­range­ments of a prac­ti­cal na­ture, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing and im­prov­ing dis­pute man­age­ment rules and mech­a­nisms, en­gag­ing in co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous sec­tors, and pro­mot­ing joint de­vel­op­ment while shelv­ing dif­fer­ences, so as to up­hold peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea re­gion and cre­ate con­di­tions for the fi­nal set­tle­ment of dis­putes. Rel­e­vant

133. China works ac­tively to pro­mote the es­tab­lish­ment of bi­lat­eral mar­itime con­sul­ta­tion mech­a­nisms with rel­e­vant states, ex­plores joint de­vel­op­ment in ar­eas such as fish­ery, oil and gas, and cham­pi­ons the ac­tive ex­plo­ration by rel­e­vant coun­tries in es­tab­lish­ing a co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism among the South China Sea coastal states in ac­cor­dance with rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions of UNCLOS.

134. China is al­ways ded­i­cated to work­ing with ASEAN Mem­ber States to fully and ef­fec­tively im­ple­ment the DOC and ac­tively pro­mote prac­ti­cal mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion. To­gether the Par­ties have al­ready achieved “Early Har­vest Mea­sures”, in­clud­ing the “Hot­line Plat­form on Search and Res­cue among China and ASEAN Mem­ber States”, the “Se­nior Of­fi­cials’ Hot­line Plat­form in Re­sponse to Mar­itime Emer­gen­cies among Min­istries of For­eign Af­fairs of China and ASEAN Mem­ber States”, as well as the “Ta­ble-top Ex­er­cise of Search and Res­cue among China and ASEAN Mem­ber States”.

135. China con­sis­tently main­tains that the Par­ties should push for­ward con­sul­ta­tions on a “Code of Con­duct” (COC) un­der the frame­work of full and ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the DOC, with a view to achiev­ing an early con­clu­sion on the ba­sis of con­sen­sus. In or­der to prop­erly man­age risks at sea, pend­ing the fi­nal con­clu­sion of a COC, China pro­posed the adop­tion of “Pre­ven­tive Mea­sures to Man­age Risks at Sea”. This pro­posal has been unan­i­mously ac­cepted by all ASEAN Mem­ber States. 136. China is com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing the free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight en­joyed by all states un­der in­ter­na­tional law, and en­sur­ing the safety of sea lanes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

137. The South China Sea is home to a num­ber of im­por­tant sea lanes, which are among the main nav­i­ga­tion routes for China’s for­eign trade and en­ergy im­port. En­sur­ing free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight and safety of sea lanes in the South China Sea is cru­cial to China. Over the years, China has worked with ASEAN Mem­ber States to en­sure unim­peded ac­cess to and safety of the sea lanes in the South China Sea and made im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to this col­lec­tive en­deavor. The free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight en­joyed by all states in the South China Sea un­der in­ter­na­tional law has never been a prob­lem.

138. China has ac­tively pro­vided in­ter­na­tional pub­lic goods and made every ef­fort to pro­vide ser­vices, such as nav­i­ga­tion and nav­i­ga­tional aids, search and res­cue, as well as sea con­di­tions and me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal fore­cast, through ca­pac­ity build­ing in var­i­ous ar­eas, so as to up­hold and pro­mote the safety of sea lanes in the South China Sea.

139. China main­tains that, when ex­er­cis­ing free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight in the South China Sea, rel­e­vant par­ties shall fully re­spect the sovereignty and se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of coastal states and abide by the laws and reg­u­la­tions en­acted by coastal states in ac­cor­dance with UNCLOS and other rules of in­ter­na­tional law. 140. China main­tains that peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea should be jointly up­held by China and ASEAN Mem­ber States.

141. China pur­sues peace­ful de­vel­op­ment and ad­heres to a de­fense pol­icy that is de­fen­sive in na­ture. China cham­pi­ons a new se­cu­rity vi­sion fea­tur­ing mu­tual trust, mu­tual ben­e­fit, equal­ity and co­or­di­na­tion, and pur­sues a for­eign pol­icy of build­ing friend­ship and partnership with its neigh­bors and of fos­ter­ing an am­i­ca­ble, se­cure and pros­per­ous neigh­bor­hood based on the prin­ci­ple of amity, sin­cer­ity, mu­tual ben­e­fit and in­clu­sive­ness. China is a staunch force for up­hold­ing peace and sta­bil­ity and ad­vanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment in the South China Sea. China is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing good-neigh­bor­li­ness and pro­mot­ing prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion with its neigh­bors and re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing ASEAN to de­liver mu­tual ben­e­fit.

142. The South China Sea is a bridge of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a bond of peace, friend­ship, co­op­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment be­tween China and its neigh­bors. Peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea is vi­tal to the se­cu­rity, de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity of the coun­tries and the well-be­ing of the peo­ple in the re­gion. To re­al­ize peace, sta­bil­ity, pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment in the South China Sea re­gion is the shared as­pi­ra­tion and re­spon­si­bil­ity of China and ASEAN Mem­ber States, and serves the com­mon in­ter­ests of all coun­tries.

143. China will con­tinue to make un­remit­ting ef­forts to achieve this goal.

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