China reiterates sovereignty over Ren’ai Jiao

Noting that the Philippines has taken a series of steps at Ren’ai Jiao that seriously violate China’s territorial sovereignty, Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated China’s position on the Ren’ai Jiao issue on Monday.

“Ren’ai Jiao has been China’s territory since ancient times. It is an integral part of China’s Nansha Qundao geographically, economically, politically and historically. This has been established as a widely held international common view and fully accords with provisions on archipelagos in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and the adjacent waters, including Ren’ai Jiao and this was developed and established throughout the long course of history and is consistent with international law including the UN Charter.

China stressed the Philippines has no legal basis at all to claim sovereignty over Ren’ai Jiao on the grounds of its comparative proximity to Philippine territory.

“The so-called South China Sea arbitration award is illegal, null and void. The arbitration initiated by the Philippines directly concerns the issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. Territorial issues are not subject to UNCLOS. Besides, in 2006, pursuant to Article 298 of UNCLOS, China excluded issues relating to sea boundary delimitations from the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal. By unilaterally initiating the South China Sea arbitration, the Philippines contravened the stipulations of UNCLOS. The Arbitral Tribunal violated the principle of state consent, exercised its jurisdiction ultra vires and rendered an award in disregard of the law,” according to the spokesperson.

By “grounding” a military vessel at Ren’ai Jiao, the Philippines gravely violated China’s territorial sovereignty, the spokesperson noted, warning that China cannot accept the Philippines’ acts of going back on its words again and again and violating China’s territorial sovereignty.

China once again urges the Philippines to take seriously China’s concerns, stop making provocations and creating troubles at sea, and stop groundless attacks and smears, to avoid undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea and harming the common interests of countries in the region, the spokesperson added.

(Cover: A Chinese coast guard ship blocks Philippine coast guard ship as it tried to head towards Second Thomas Shoal at the South China Sea, October 4, 2023. /CFP)

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