China sea
South China Sea

At a briefing following Monday’s Think Tank Seminar on the South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development, Director General Wang Lei from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ (CASS) Bureau of International Cooperation said that experts at the seminar discussed ways to settle and solutions to maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as well as overall regional cooperation and development.

China sea
South China Sea
The seminar is sure to facilitate ties between China and Southeast Asian countries, Wang added.

Law professor Sienho Yee from Wuhan University told the People’s Daily that the so-called “verdict” breached not only the previous consensus reached by China and the Philippines, but also the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as the principles and requirements of international law.

The tribunal has overreached and abused its authority, therefore the verdict will not be accepted by the international community, Yee stressed.

The tribunal is not an international court as it is no related to either the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the UN system or the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, said Zhao Qizheng, dean of the School of Journalism at Renmin University of China, who is also a former minister of the State Council Information Office,.

Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow with the Military and Academic Institute of the Chinese Navy, told press about a recent military drill launched by China in the South China Sea, saying that it was a regular drill completely within China’s sovereignty rights and not targeting any country.

China’s military exercises within its own territory are focused on self-defense, which is quite different from the “muscle-flexing” operations of the US and other countries, he added.

Zhang also criticized the increase of military presence in the South China Sea by countries such as the US and Japan. “They are indeed a military threat for countries in the region,” he said.

“We hope those counties with perilous motives will stop their actions as soon as possible since China will never tolerate any infringement of its sovereignty.”

Commenting on the frequent military drills by the US, Japan and other countries have been carrying out using freedom of navigation as an excuse, Zhang noted that around 100,000 vessels sail through the South China Sea every year, yet none have made complaints regarding freedom of navigation.

Deputy Director General Li Guoqiang from the CASS Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies also talked about broader China-ASEAN ties.

Hailing their sound relations in various fields, Li said that ASEAN is a diplomatic priority for China. “China supports the integrity of ASEAN, and is willing to cooperate with a united ASEAN,” he added.

“The peace and stability of the South China Sea region requires the joint efforts of both China and ASEAN states,” he further pointed out.

U Win Tin, Chief Editor of Myanmar’s magazine named Northern Star, called the seminar a window for the outside world to learn about China’s South China Sea policy.

By Ding Zi, Yang Ou, Yu Yichun and Zhang Zhiwen from People’s Daily/News Ghana

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