by Xinhua Writer Zhu Junqing
BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — The sailing of a U.S. warship within 12 nautical miles off China’s islands in the South China Sea constitutes a blatant provocation to China’s territorial sovereignty and puts on a show of force under the excuse of testing freedom of navigation and over-flight in the waters.
China has always respected and stood up for the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea and other major international passages all countries are entitled to under international law.
In his just-concluded state visit to the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping has clarified that relevant construction activities China is undertaking on the Nansha Islands do not target or impact any other country.
Moreover, China does not intend to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands in South China Sea, all its military deployment is necessary, limited and defense-oriented. China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
During the visit, Xi and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, renewed their commitment to building a new model of major-country relationship featuring no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
Thus, the U.S. provocative behavior violated, firstly, the two leaders’ commitment, and will aggravate regional tensions.
In fact, the most important factor militarizing the waters is that some countries flex their military muscles and hold frequent large-scale drills with their allies in the South China Sea.
Secondly, the patrols went against Washington’s public statement that it takes no stand over the territorial claims by six parties in the South China Sea region.
Such patrols, representing a most serious U.S. challenge to China’s territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests, will impact the other claimants of the issue, and encourage their illegal demands.
Actually, China has never stopped its efforts to peacefully solve the disputes. Last Tuesday, senior diplomats from China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations just consulted on a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, and formulated a list of crucial issues and an outline of the COC.
Thirdly, Washington’s allegation to exert so-called rights of freedom of navigation as the international law allows are outright lies. China has never done anything to infringe upon the freedom of navigation in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.
Out of ulterior motives, the U.S. military has been conducting frequent close-in reconnaissance activities against China in the latter’s costal waters and Special Economic Zones, which should be blamed.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the U.S. side on Tuesday “not to act in imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing” in the South China Sea. “We advise the U.S. side to think twice before its action,” he warned.