China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands: Historians
The Philippines, partially applying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, attempts to challenge China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands.
In its unilaterally-initiated arbitration, the Philippines argues that low-tide elevations and submerged reefs are part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, a claim that runs contrary to historical fact, reality and international law.
Historians say, Chinese activities in the South China Sea date back to 2,000 years ago.
SOUNDBITE: Hu Dekun, Wuhan University
“It’s the Chinese people who first discovered and lived off the islands in the South China Sea. From ancient times, the Chinese government has held sovereignty and jurisdiction over the islands. The cause for the South China Sea dispute is that the Philippines want to illegally occupy some of China’s reefs and islets.”
Chinese fishermen have been on expeditions or fishing in the South China Sea since ancient times.
Besides, they also put up wooden cabins, built temples, dug water wells and grew coconut, banana and vegetables on the islands.
In 1946, the Chinese government resumed exercise of sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and reefs from foreign powers that had occupied them, and re-erected a monument of sovereignty on the main island.
SOUNDBITE: KIM HYUN-SOO, Law prof., Inha University, South Korea
“China and the Philippines should solve the dispute through negotiations. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, reached between China and ASEAN countries is a very good legal framework to resolve the issue.”
China advocates a “dual-track” approach for issues related to the South China Sea, that is, disputes should be resolved peacefully through negotiation between the parties directly concerned, and China and ASEAN countries should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.