Nansha Project Will Not Affect Anyone, China Says

The Chinese side is gravely concerned about the statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit on the South China Sea issue, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei yesterday.

Commenting the 26th ASEAN Summit Chairman’s Statement which expresses serious concerns on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, he said: “China holds a clear and long-standing stance on the South China Sea issue, which is not an issue between China and ASEAN.

“China firmly upholds territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. At the same time, bearing in mind the overall picture of regional peace and stability, China stays committed to resolving the relevant disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting the historical facts and the international law, and devotes itself to jointly safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea with ASEAN countries. China has exercised great restraint on the relevant issue.

There has never been any problem concerning the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea that all countries are entitled to under the international law. Nor will there be any in the future.

“China’s construction on the islands and reefs of Nansha (Spratlys) is completely within China’s sovereignty, and does not target or affect anyone. The Chinese side has repeatedly clarified its position. Relevant construction is lawful, justified and reasonable and thus beyond reproach.

“The Chinese side opposes a few countries’ taking hostage the entire ASEAN and China-ASEAN relations for their own selfish gains, and undermining the friendly cooperation between China and ASEAN. We urge countries concerned to meet China halfway, and safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea and the general interests of China-ASEAN relationship.”

Head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Philippines recently said that China’s construction on the islands and reefs of Nansha caused damage to the local coral reef and affected the livelihood of the Philippine fishermen.

Commenting this, Hong Lei said that China exercises indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. China carries out construction on its own islands and reefs, and attaches greater importance to protecting the ecological environment there than anyone else.

He added that China’s construction projects have gone through years of scientific assessments and rigorous tests, and are subject to strict standards and requirements of environmental protection.

Such projects will not damage the ecological environment of the South China Sea. Philippines’ argument that China’s construction on the islands and reefs would cause damage to the Philippines is utterly unjustifiable, concluded Hong Lei.