by Spokesperson of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
The Chinese Embassy in Thailand has taken note of the Op-Ed by H.E. Mr. Michael George DeSombre, the US Ambassador to Thailand, published on July 14.
The article continues with the false allegations made by the Statement of the US Department of State on the South China Sea, ignoring the historical background and objective facts of the South China Sea issue, deliberately distorting international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), breaking its public commitment of not taking sides on the South China Sea sovereignty issue, ignoring the joint endeavors of China and ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, exaggerating the tense situation in the region, attempting to sow discord between China and other littoral countries and defaming China with untrue words so as to mislead the public.
The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it.
China’s position on the South China Sea issue has been consistent, clear-cut and firm. China has been committed to resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly involved,and maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea by joint endeavors of China and ASEAN countries, which is also the consensus of China and ASEAN countries.
At present, with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries,the situation of the South China Sea has remained peaceful and stable and is still improving. China and ASEAN countries are not only fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea(DOC), but also accelerating the consultation on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). The COC will be an upgrade of the DOC.
It will be more suited to our region’s needs and more effective in regulating the conduct of the parties. It will provide stronger safeguards for safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and enable China and ASEAN to build trust, manage disagreements, strengthen cooperation and maintain stability.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and ASEAN countries have assisted and supported each other to beat the virus.
Ships and planes carrying critical supplies are sailing in and flying over the South China Sea, a body of water that’s witnessing mutual assistance and cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Moreover, a lot of progress has been made in our cooperation on maritime search and rescue as well as marine conservation and research, which are tangible and pragmatic fruits of peaceful cooperations.
I would like to stress again that the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all states under international law in the South China Sea has never been affected by the relevant disputes in the South China Sea thus so far.
The United States is a country outside the region, which is not directly involved in the disputes and refusing to ratify the UNCLOS itself, and has kept interfering in the issue and disturbing the tranquility of the South China Sea by making a show of force arbitrarily.
What is the real intention? From the the Statement of the US Department of State on the South China Sea and relevant Op-Ed by the US Ambassador to Thailand, it doesn’t take much imagination to understand that the US side is reluctant to see the hard-won stability in the South China Sea, to see China and other littoral countries are capable of resolving the South China Sea relevant disputes through peaceful consultation on our own efforts and to see China and ASEAN countries work closely to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
Countries in the region should remain highly vigilant towards these intentions. China always believes that the South China Sea issue should not be a tool for implementing the strategy of containing China by non-regional countries and no external interference should become the source of distracting or sabotaging the peace and stability in the South China Sea.
We advise the US side to earnestly honor its commitment of not taking sides on the issue of territorial sovereignty, and play a constructive role in the peace and stability of this region as a non-regional country.
China will as always stick to resolve disputes through negotiation and consultation, realize the benign interaction through rules and mechanisms, achieve common development through mutually beneficial cooperation and work with regional countries to transform the South China Sea into a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.