Q: On July 11, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Fuchs called on claimants in the South China Sea to freeze construction, land reclamation, establishment of new outposts and other alterations to the statue quo of disputed islands and reefs, and to create an environment for negotiations on the "code of conduct of the South China Sea". What is China's comment on that?
A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Countries have been encroaching upon some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands since the 1970s. China has been requesting relevant countries to pull all the personnel and facilities out of China's islands and reefs that they have occupied. It is regrettable that certain countries have intensified their illegal presence with construction work and weaponry buildup over recent years, keeping infringing upon China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that.
Bearing in mind regional peace and stability, China is committed to safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and resolving relevant disputes with the sovereign states directly concerned through consultation and negotiation based on the respect for history and international law. In 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) under the commitment of exercising self-restraint, refraining from actions that complicate and aggravate disputes or jeopardize peace and stability, and dealing with disputes constructively.
China and ASEAN countries are fully and effectively implementing the DOC and pressing steadily ahead with the negotiation of the "code of conduct" under the framework of the DOC. We hope that countries outside the region can stay neutral, distinguish right from wrong and truly respect the joint efforts made by regional countries for peace and stability of the region.