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Global Times

Non-member US plays magistrate of UN convention to sow discord in South China Sea: Chinese FM

Global Times

By Fan Anqi Published: Jan 13, 2022 11:15 PM

The US was trying to distort international law and sow discord in regions around the South China Sea by touting a report which claims that China's maritime sovereignty in most of the South China Sea was unlawful, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

The US State Department issued a report titled "Limits in the Seas" on Wednesday, saying that China's claims in the South China Sea "gravely undermine the rule of law in the oceans," referencing to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and an international ruling dismissing most of China's claims in the region.

"China is a contracting party of the UNCLOS and has always attached great importance to it, and implemented it in a rigorous and responsible manner. The US, however, refused to join but assumed itself the role of the magistrate of the convention, misinterpreting it at will for its own selfish interests, using multi-standards to politically manipulate others, and undermining the international rule of law," Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Thursday's media briefing.

Wang reiterated that China enjoys sovereignty of the Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha, and Nansha Islands as well as other islands in the South China Sea. China has historical rights in the region, which was established over a long period of time and in accordance with international law including the UN Charter and the UNCLOS.

Chen Xiangmiao, an assistant research fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said this is the fifth time that the US has issued South China Sea-related reports.

"With the so-called South China Sea Arbitration at its core, the report one-sidedly interpreted the international law to serve its own interests, which is in essence abusing the international law to play a political card, and that has made the US the biggest violator of the law," Chen told the Global Times on Thursday.

More and more countries are growing skeptical toward and refusing to recognize the rulings of the so-called arbitration, he added.

China's stance on the arbitration and its so-called rulings has always been clear and firm. The arbitral tribunal violated the principle of state consent, exceeded its authority, and made arbitrary decisions in serious violation of the UNCLOS. Its ruling was invalid and China does not accept or recognize the ruling, the spokesperson said.

Under joint efforts by China and the ASEAN members, the situation in the South China Sea has generally remained stable, said the spokesperson, while the US, as an extraterritorial country, is frequently stirring up trouble in the region and sowing discord among regional countries. China will continue to work with ASEAN to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang added.

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