South China Sea Islands Map (Wikipedia). The island groups of the Spratlys, the Paracels and the Macclesfield Bank known in Chinese as the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands.
China expressed its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition on the press statement released Friday by the US Department of State on the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Saturday.
The statement “completely ignored the facts, deliberately confounded right and wrong, and sent a seriously wrong signal, which is not conducive to the efforts safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea and the Asia Pacific region,” Qin said in a statement.
China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, and has ample historical basis for this, said Qin.
China set up offices in Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha Islands, which were affiliated to the Guangdong Province, in 1959, to administrate the three islands and their adjacent waters, said Qin.
“Setting up Sansha city is the Chinese government’s necessary adjustment of the current administrative agencies, which is completely within China’s sovereignty,” he said.
It needs to be pointed out that China and regional countries have worked to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and safeguard the freedom of navigation and trade in the past 20 years, said Qin.
In 2002, China and Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which states that sovereign states directly concerned should resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means and through friendly consultations and negotiations, and should not take moves that will escalate and complicate the disputes, said Qin.
However, it is worrisome that certain countries do not respect and abide by the DOC, by undermining the basic principle and spirit of the DOC again and again in a provocative way, said Qin. “This has created difficulties for the negotiation of the Code of Conduct (COC).”
Therefore, China, while holding an open attitude towards the negotiation of the COC with the ASEAN countries, advocates that parties concerned should strictly abide by the DOC, so as to create necessary conditions and atmosphere for the negotiation of the COC, Qin said.
The United States on Friday voiced concerns about rising tensions over the South China Sea, and cited China’s establishment of Sansha city and garrison to single Beijing out for criticism.