BEIJING, Aug. 31 – "We urge the US side to stop meddling in the South China Sea issue, stop sowing discords and fanning flames, and stop disrupting regional peace and stability," said Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, at a regular press conference on Thursday when asked to comment on US senior military officials' provocative remarks about supporting the Philippines.
According to media reports, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III recently said that "the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling is binding on all parties" and "the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces - to include those of its Coast Guard - in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea". And Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, Commander of the US Navy's Seventh Fleet, recently said that the use of water canon by China Coast Guard against a Philippine vessel "must be challenged and checked." He also "assured the Philippines of US backing".
Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters, including the Ren'ai Jiao. Relevant moves by the Philippine side infringed upon China's sovereignty and violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The China Coast Guard's responses are legitimate, lawful, professional, and standard.
"It is the US that has encouraged, supported and helped the Philippines in shipping building materials to the vessel illegally grounded at Ren'ai Jiao. It is the US that keeps threatening China with the Mutual Defense Treaty and pressuring China with the so-called South China Sea arbitration which is illegal and invalid. And it is also the US that has groundlessly smeared legitimate and lawful law-enforcement operations of the Chinese side," Senior Colonel Wu pointed out, adding that these actions have violated the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, been against the US' public commitment of taking no position on the sovereignty issues in the South China Sea, undermined peace and stability, and heightened tensions in the region.
"We hope regional countries can stay vigilant, faithfully implement the DOC, and work with the Chinese side to maintain peace and stability in the region. The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard China's national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea," stressed the spokesperson.