China has reiterated its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters in the South China Sea, including the largest of the islands, Taiping Dao. Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded to media reports about attempts from the Philippines and an arbitration tribunal to characterize Taiping Dao as a “rock” rather than an “island.” Hua said Chinese fishermen have resided on Taiping Dao for years, which proves that it is an “island” and is completely capable of sustaining human habitation. The spokesperson called the Philippines’ move totally unacceptable, saying it violates international law.
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