China Criticizes Japan, Philippines, and US Joint Statement on South China Sea Disputes

China strongly criticizes joint statement by US, Japan, and Philippines over South China Sea disputes, reiterating its claims and rejecting the 2016 arbitration ruling. Tensions remain high as countries seek to counter each other's narratives in the strategic waterway.

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China Criticizes Japan, Philippines, and US Joint Statement on South China Sea Disputes

China Criticizes Japan, Philippines, and US Joint Statement on South China Sea Disputes

China's defense spokesperson, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, strongly criticized a recent joint statement issued by the leaders of Japan, the Philippines, and the United States regarding disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Wu accused the three countries of disregarding facts and making groundless accusations against China's actions in the region.

In the statement, the US, Japan, and the Philippines expressed concerns over China's activities, such as the alleged harassment of Philippine naval operations and fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. They called on China to cease its "aggressive actions" and "unlawful interference" with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

However, Wu asserted that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, which he said is "solidly grounded in history and law." He noted that the scope of the Philippines' territory is defined by international treaties, and that the Nansha Qundao (Spratly Islands) and Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal) are far beyond Philippine territory.

Regarding the Diaoyu Dao (Senkaku Islands) and its affiliated islands in the East China Sea, Wu stated that they were first discovered, named, and exploited by China, and were returned to China in accordance with international legal documents after World War II. Japan and the Philippines claim sovereignty over some of these islands and features.

Wu also rejected the 2016 South China Sea arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines, calling it "illegal and void." "The so-called award of the South China Sea arbitration is illegal and void. It violated the principle of state consent, exercised jurisdiction ultra vires, and rendered an award in disregard of the law," he said.

On the Taiwan issue, Wu reiterated that it is purely China's internal affair. He urged the US, Japan, and the Philippines to honor their commitments and stop interfering in China's internal affairs and undermining regional peace and stability.

Why this matters: The South China Sea disputes involve overlapping territorial and maritime claims by several countries in the region, with China claiming most of the strategic waterway. The US and its allies have criticized China's island-building and militarization in the South China Sea, while China has accused them of provocation and meddling. The ongoing tensions risk escalation and threaten regional stability.

Wu emphasized that the Chinese military will resolutely safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the region. "The PLA will resolutely safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and uphold regional peace and stability," he stated. The Philippines and the US have agreed to collaborate in countering what they call China's "false narratives" on the disputes and to consider joint maritime law enforcement operations.

Key Takeaways

  • China strongly criticized a joint statement by US, Japan, and Philippines on South China Sea disputes.
  • China claims indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands, rejecting 2016 arbitration ruling.
  • China asserts Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in East China Sea were first discovered and named by China.
  • China urges US, Japan, and Philippines to stop interfering in its internal affairs, including Taiwan.
  • Ongoing tensions in South China Sea risk escalation, with China and US-allies accusing each other.