China refutes US criticism of its maritime claims

Updated: 2014-02-09 04:07


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BEIJING - A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Saturday that China's maritime rights in the South China Sea are formed by history and protected by the international law.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks in response to the statement of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel concerning China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

In congressional testimony Wednesday, Russel suggested China's territorial claims in the South China Sea do not comply with international law and should be clarified or adjusted.

"Any use of the  'nine-dash line'  by China to claim maritime rights not based on claimed land features would be inconsistent with international law,"  he said.

The nine-dash line takes in about 80 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometers South China Sea on Chinese maps.

This boundary was first officially published on a map in 1947 and has been included in subsequent maps issued after 1949.

China has been committed to resolving maritime disputes with directly concerned parties through negotiation and consultation, said Hong.

At the same time, China attaches great importance to implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) with ASEAN nations, in a bid to jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, he said.

China's stance is clear and consistent, he said, adding that creating hot topics and rendering tension are not conducive to maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

Noting that some US officials' remarks in congressional testimony are not constructive, Hong urged the US side to take a rational and fair attitude towards the South China Sea issue, so as to play a constructive role in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region, rather than the other way round.