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Ambassador Wang Lutong Gives an Exclusive Interview to TV3 on the Philippines' South China Sea Arbitration Case

    On July 16, Ambassador Wang Luting was interviewed on New Zealand TV3's current affairs program The Nation on the Philippines South China Sea Arbitration Case.

    Ambassador Wang Lutong reiterated China's firm position of neither accepting nor recognising the so-called arbitration awards; stating that territorial issues were not subject to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). As early as 2006, China made an optional exceptions declaration pursuant to Article 298 of UNCLOS, excluding inter alia maritime delimitation, historic bays or titles, military and law enforcement activities from UNCLOS compulsory dispute settlement procedures. The unilateral arbitration initiated by the Philippines has violated the bilateral agreement reached between China and the Philippines and its commitments under the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. 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 recognise those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards. China has spared no efforts to settle, on the basis of respecting historical facts, disputes with the Philippines and other countries directly concerned, through negotiation, and in accordance with international law.

    Ambassador Wang noted that respecting and applying international rules, systems and laws and further integrating into the international community was part of the process of China's reform and 'opening up' strategy. China has spent 50 years settling boundary issues through negotiation with 12 of its 14 land neighbours. This is the best demonstration of China's adherence to international law. China's opposition to the result of the so-called arbitration aims to uphold the authority, representativeness and impartiality of international law.

    Regarding reef construction issues, Ambassador Wang noted that China was the most recent country to carry out construction on South China Sea islands, while the Philippines was the first to build airports on illegally occupied islands and reefs. Reef construction by other countries has continued unabated and the United States repeatedly deploys aircrafts to the South China Sea. China's reef construction is for the purpose of self-defence and is beyond reproach. The purpose of China's island construction is to provide public services such as navigation and navigational aids, search and rescue, as well as sea conditions and meteorological forecasts, in order to uphold and promote the safety of sea-lanes in the South China Sea. To achieve peace, stability and prosperity for the South China Sea region is the common aspiration and responsibility of all parties, who should make joint efforts to this end. The South China Sea situation would be more peaceful and stable if the United States ceased sending warplanes and warships to the region.

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