China on Wednesday released a white paper against the verdict by a U.N.-backed tribunal that struck down its “historical rights” in the South China Sea, insisting that it has claims over the strategic region for 2,000 years.
The white paper said Philippines, which had filed the petition, was occupying Chinese territory.
The core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines’ invasion and illegal occupation by force, starting in the 1970s, of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands), it said.
“The Philippines has concocted many excuses to cover up this fact, and to pursue its territorial pretensions,” said the document, titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.”
The Philippines’ relevant claim was groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law, said the white paper issued by the State Council Information Office.
In addition, with the development of the international law of the sea, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between China and the Philippines over some maritime areas of the South China Sea, the paper said.
The white paper attacked the Philippines, saying that Manila turned a blind eye to bilateral consensus and had repeatedly taken moves that complicated the relevant disputes and gradually intensified them.
The Philippines built military facilities on some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands/Spratly islands) it has invaded and illegally occupied. It deliberately destroyed survey markers set up by China and attempted to illegally occupy China’s Ren’ai Jiao by using a military vessel illegally run around it. The Philippines also has territorial pretensions on China’s Huangyan Dao and attempted to occupy it illegally, deliberately causing the Huangyan Dao Incident, it said.
The Philippines had intruded into relevant maritime areas of China’s Nansha Qundao to carry out illegal oil and gas exploratory drilling and bidding. The Philippines had repeatedly harassed and attacked Chinese fishermen and fishing boats conducting routine fishing operations, it said.
In January 2013, then government of the Republic of the Philippines unilaterally initiated the South China Sea arbitration. By doing so, the Philippines had not only violated its standing agreement with China to settle the relevant disputes through bilateral negotiation, but had also violated China’s right to choose means of dispute settlement of its own will as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Philippines had abused the UNCLOS dispute settlement procedures, it said.
“The Philippines has distorted facts, misinterpreted laws and concocted a pack of lies, in an attempt to deny China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea,” it said.
The Arbitral Tribunal established at the Philippines’ unilateral request had no jurisdiction over relevant submissions, and awards rendered by it were null and void and have no binding force, it said.
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 recognize those awards. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action based on those awards,” the white paper said.