Q: On April 18, Hugo Swire, British Minister of State for the Foreign Office told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that growing tensions in the South China Sea are driven by China's assertive actions. He said that any ruling by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal in the Hague should be binding on both China and the Philippines. The UK will stand alongside the US in support of the ruling. What is your comment?
A: Mr. Swire's remarks, which paid no regard to facts and are full of prejudice and partiality, severely violated UK's promise of not taking sides on the relevant issue. We are strongly dissatisfied with that.
The so-called tense situation in the South China Sea is a drama jointly staged by the US and the Philippines for their own political motives. 100,000-plus vessels from different countries pass through the South China Sea every year, safe and sound without encountering any problems. What stands out is the more frequent and high-profile appearances of US military jets and vessels. Just the day before yesterday, the US Ambassador to the Philippines assured the Philippines of an observation blimp and 42 million US dollars' worth of military equipment. The fact is that if the situation in the South China Sea gets tense, then the US is the biggest pusher behind it. Blaming the tense situation in the South China Sea on China getting aggressive is calling white black and confusing right and wrong.
As for the South China Sea arbitration case, China has said many times that the essence and purpose of the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippine side is to completely negate China's territorial sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. There are clearly behind-the-scene political maneuvers. For such an arbitration case that has gone astray, the Chinese side will not humor it, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when he met the press at the two Sessions.
I also want to stress that the South China Sea arbitration case gravely undercuts the solemnity and authority of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and abuses international law. Therefore, by not accepting and participating in the so-called arbitration, China is upholding international law and the solemnity of UNCLOS.