Wednesday, January 26, 2022

China defends broad maritime claims after US criticism Nation World News

BEIJING ( Associated Press) — China on Thursday defended its “historic rights” in almost the entire South China Sea, after a new US government report found Beijing’s claims almost entirely invalid.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the State Department’s report released this month “Borders in Sea” as “an attempt to distort international law, confuse the public, sow discord and disrupt the regional situation.”

“China has historical rights in the South China Sea. China’s sovereignty and related rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established over a long period of history and are in line with international law,” Wang said.

The vast maritime sector has been tense as six other governments lay claim to all or part of the strategically important waterway through which an estimated $5 trillion in global trade travels each year and which has rich but rapidly dwindling fishing stocks. And there are significant underwater oil and gas deposits.

The US has no official position on which features it owns at sea, but maintains full rights to operate in international waters.

This includes naval warships before Chinese-held facilities, including artificial islands equipped with airstrips and other military facilities.

The US report said Beijing’s claim “has no legal basis and is claimed without specificity as to the nature or geographic extent of the ‘historic rights’ claimed by (China).

The US study also stated that China’s claim to sovereignty covering more than 100 facilities submerged at high tide was inconsistent with international law; that his encirclement of vast areas of the sea was not supported by international law; and that its practice of claiming maritime territories on the basis of labeling each island group as a whole was “not permitted by international law.”

The study noted that China’s “vast maritime claims in the South China Sea are inconsistent with international law, as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that (China) illegally claims sovereignty or any exclusive jurisdiction over much of the South China Sea,” it said.

In his response, Wang said the US “arbitrarily misinterprets the convention, engages in political manipulation with multiple standards for its own sake, and undermines the international rule of law.”

He also renewed China’s criticism of a 2016 international arbitration ruling that mostly invalidated Beijing’s claims. The ruling is “illegal and null and void. China does not accept or recognize it,” Wang said.

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