BEIJING — China has dismissed Vietnam’s sovereignty claim for the Nansha and Xisha islands in the South China Sea, saying it is “illegal and invalid” and “China will never accept such claim.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comment on late Dec 11 after Vietnam’s foreign ministry said Vietnam held sovereignty over the Nansha and Xisha islands and objected to China’s nine-dash line stance. Vietnam also said its position has been made clear to the Arbitral Tribunal on the South China Sea Arbitration initiated by the Philippines.
Hong said China holds indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the surrounding waters while the Xisha Islands have been China’s inherent territory, without any dispute on this.
In 1948, the Chinese government published an official map that displayed the dotted line in the South China Sea. China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea formed and evolved over a long course of history. They are solidly grounded in history and law and have been continuously upheld by the Chinese Government, Hong said.
The nine-dash line takes in about 80 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea on Chinese maps. This boundary was first officially published on a map in 1948 and has been included in subsequent maps issued after 1949.
“China urges Vietnam to earnestly respect our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and resolve relevant disputes regarding Nansha with China on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law so as to jointly maintain peace and stability on the South China Sea,” Hong said.
The Chinese Government publishes a Position Paper on Dec 7 to elaborate on the legal basis for China’s position that the Arbitral Tribunal manifestly has no jurisdiction in this case and to demonstrate that China’s position not to accept or participate in the proceedings stands on solid ground in international law.
Hong said China’s stance on the arbitration will not change.