- An international tribunal in The Hague ruled Tuesday that China has no legal basis to claim sovereignty over the 'nine-dash line'
- Beijing stated that their claims to the South China Sea islands still stands
- However, China also stated that they are ready to go through the diplomatic process to resolve the issues
While China said they are ready to resolve disputes peacefully, Beijing on Tuesday echoed its stance that it has legal and historical claims over the South China Sea.
The East Asian country stated that they have historical evidence to base their claims on the islands in the South China sea.
In their state-run Xinhua News, Beijing reiterated their stance: "The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back to over 2,000 years ago. China is the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them continuously, peacefully and effectively, thus establishing territorial sovereignty and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea."
China said it has resumed its territorial sovereignty over the Nanhai Zhudao, or South China Sea islands, which the Japanese occupied during WWII. The country also claimed that they have charted a map and showed it to the world in 1948, showing the Chinese government’s ownership over the islands in South China Sea. Therefore, there is a legal basis for China's claims over the island chain.
Furthermore, China claimed its sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and all its internal waters, territorial sea and contiguous zone. Therefore, they also possess the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf that comes with the island chain.
The country also argued that their claim is legal in accordance with international law through these 'legal instruments' such as the 1958 Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China on China's Territorial Sea and the 1998 Law of the People's Republic of China on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf.
China also strongly affirmed that it is opposed to any invasion or illegal occupation of the South China Sea 'by certain states' and stood firm on its sovereignty over the Nanhai Zhudao, hoping that connected states will acknowledge its claims based on historical facts and in accordance with international law.
Despite their claims, they are still willing to go through the diplomatic process to resolve issues peacefully. In their statement, the Chinese capital stands to make every effort with states involved in the island disputes to achieve 'win-win results' and to preserve stability and peace in the South China Sea.
Furthermore, China said it respects the freedom of navigation and is willing to work towards ensuring 'safe and unimpeded' access through the South China Sea. China is ready to work with the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and all other coastal states connected to the South China Sea dispute. The country is also willing to push for the joint development for relevant maritime areas and enter into provisional arrangements.
On Tuesday, the international tribunal ruled that China had no legal basis to claim sovereignty over the South China Sea. The court ruled in favor of the Philippines, stating that China had no basis to claim islands within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, locally known as the West Philippine Sea.
The tribunal further ruled that none of the features in the South China Sea were qualified to generate an exclusive economic zone because they were simply rocks or low-tide elevations instead of islands. An exclusive economic zone gives rights to a country to all the resources within 200 nautical miles from the land mass.
Since the features were not considered islands, China’s claim of having an exclusive economic zone within the South China Sea holds no basis.
Although the ruling of the tribunal is considered legally binding according to international law, there exists a problem of enforcement. As a matter of fact, the court has yet to order China to remedy the situation by halting their operations on the artificial islands or paying any reparations to the Philippines.-NB, Kami Media