U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., on July 8 (AGENCIES)
China firmly opposed the U.S. Department of State's statement on the South China Sea, and urged Washington to stop its attempts to disrupt and sabotage regional peace and stability, a spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Washington said on July 13.
In a statement issued on July 13, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is making clear "Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful".
The U.S. statement disregards the efforts of China and ASEAN countries — the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — for peace and stability in the South China Sea, deliberately distorts the facts and international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), exaggerates the situation in the region and attempts to sow discord between China and other littoral countries, the Chinese embassy said in a release.
"The accusation is completely unjustified. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it," the embassy spokesperson said.
China's position on the South China Sea issue has been consistent and clear-cut. While firmly safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China has been committed to resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly involved, managing differences through rules and mechanisms and achieving win-win results through mutually beneficial cooperation, the spokesperson said.
The situation of the South China Sea has remained peaceful and stable and is still improving, according to an embassy press release.
China and other littoral countries have maintained dialogue and communication through consultation mechanisms on maritime affairs and worked to promote cooperation over the South China Sea, it said.
Within the framework of fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China and the ASEAN countries are advancing the consultation on a code of conduct in the South China Sea and are making visible progress, it added.
The U.S. is not a country directly involved in the disputes, but it has kept interfering in the issue, and under the pretext of preserving stability, it is flexing its muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region, according to the spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that under the pretext of endorsing rules, the U.S. is using UNCLOS to attack China while refusing to ratify the convention itself — and under the pretext of upholding freedom of navigation and overflight, it is recklessly infringing on other countries' territorial sea and airspace and throwing its weight around in every sea of the world.
"We urge the U.S. side to earnestly honor its commitment of not taking sides on the issue of territorial sovereignty, respect regional countries' efforts for a peaceful and stable South China Sea and stop its attempts to disrupt and sabotage regional peace and stability," said the spokesperson.