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Spokesperson on Huang Yan island

2000-11-15 14:15
Q: On February 2nd, the spokesman of President Estrada's office indicated that China's claim to sovereignty over Huang Yan island is short of legal and historical ground, and the Filipino navy has right to safeguard the territorial sea of the Philippines. What is your comments on these remarks?


A: The Huang Yan Island has always been an integral part of the Chinese territory. The international community including the Philippines has never challenged China's above-mentioned position. Since ancient time, many historical documents in China have clear records of the Huang Yan Island. Since 1935, maps and textbooks published in China have all indicated the Island as a part of the Chinese territory. The Chinese governments announced their naming of the Island for three times in 1935, 1947 and 1983 respectively. These are all governmental actions of the Chinese side showing its effective jurisdiction over the Huang Yan Island. Even according to what the Philippine side claimed, the Huang Yan Island is not within its territory. The three treaties that define the territory of the Philippines, namely the Treaty of Paris signed between the US and Spain in 1898, the Treaty concerning the Cession of the Archipelago of the Philippines signed between the US and Spain in 1900, and the Convention concerning the Frontier between the Archipelago of the Philippines and the State of the North Borneo signed between the US and Britain in 1930, all clearly stipulated that the west demarcation line of the territory of the Philippines is 118 East Longitude while the Huang Yan Island, a part of China's Zhong Sha Archipelago, is to the west of it. The Consititution of the Philippines in 1935, the Act to Define the Baseline of the Territorial Sea of the Philippines in 1961 and documents released by the government of the Philippines all reaffirm this demarcation line. The maps published by the government of the Philippines also show that the Huang Yan Island is not within the territory of the Philippines.


In addition, the Philippine side has also made territorial claim over China's Huang Yan Island by citing the excuse of 200-mile exclusive economic zone. This cannot hold according to the international law. Territorial sovereignty is the basis of maritime jurisdiction, the latter being the right and interest derived from the former. This is the most fundamental principle of the modern maritime law. The Philippines cannot take possession of the territory of others within 200 miles by using maritime jurisdiction.


We hope that the Philippine side will abide by the basic facts and the basic norms governing international relations, respect China's territorial sovereignty, strictly honor the understanding and consensus reached by the two sides and refrain from creating new troubles and making such irresponsible remarks again.
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