World / Asia-Pacific

China maintains navigation freedom in South China Sea: ambassador

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-29 09:04

CANBERRA - Chinese Ambassador to Australia Ma Zhaoxu has reiterated China's principled position that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, saying China has a solid historical and legal basis.

The Chinese ambassador said in an article published Tuesday on Western Australian daily newspaper that it is in China's interest to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, because it is not only a well-known international sea lane, but also an important route for China's foreign trade and energy import.

Ma Zhaoxu pointed out that despite disputes, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been a problem.

He said, "China has always maintained that navigation freedom in the South China Sea enjoyed by all countries based on international law should be guaranteed. Guided by this principle, China has actively participated in regional maritime safety cooperation."

The Chinese ambassador said China believes that the disputes should be resolved through negotiation and consultation between parties directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law, and China and ASEAN member states should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Regarding China's construction on some of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, the Chinese ambassador said China has every right to do so since it falls entirely within China's sovereignty and is completely lawful, reasonable and justified.

He said the construction is carried out mainly for three purposes: improving the living and working conditions of people stationed there; better performing China's international responsibility and obligation in maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, environmental protection; and better providing international public good such as navigation safety, marine science and research, meteorological observation and fishery production.

Ma said China will continue to make concerted efforts with ASEAN countries for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), careful management of frictions and practical cooperation on the sea, so that the South China Sea could become a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.

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