China has criticized a study issued by the US State Department, which said that Beijing’s demands in the South China Sea rich in oil and gas and shipping lanes are “illegal”, in light of the escalating US rhetoric towards China on the international stage.
China responded today, following the publication of the American study, saying that the report “distorts international law and misleads public opinion,” according to what was stated by the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin.
Wang said in a press briefing that “the United States refuses to sign the treaty, but it portrays itself arbitrarily and deliberately distorts the treaty,” adding that Washington “while pursuing its selfish interests, uses multiple criteria to play political games.”
According to the study, the United States called on China to “stop its illegal and coercive activities in the South China Sea.”
And the US Department of State’s Office of Ocean, Environmental and International Scientific Affairs published a 47-page research study, claiming that there was no basis under international law for demands that put Beijing on a collision course with the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.
“The overall effect of these maritime claims is that the People’s Republic of China is illegally claiming sovereignty, or some kind of exclusive jurisdiction, over most of the South China Sea,” the paper states.
“These demands seriously undermine the rule of law in the oceans and many of the globally recognized provisions of international law that are reflected in the Charter,” the paper said, referring to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China has ratified, but not the United States. United.
The research paper is an update of a study published in 2014, which questioned the so-called “nine diagonal line” on which China relies in many of its positions, as in 2016 an international court supported the position of the Philippines objecting to Chinese demands.
At that time, Beijing responded by providing new justifications, including saying that China has “historical rights” in the region, while the American research study considered that China’s demands based on history “have no legal basis” and that China did not provide details.
The research also objected to the geographical justifications for China’s demands, considering that more than 100 of the landmarks that Beijing refers to in the South China Sea are flooded during high tide, and are therefore “beyond the legal boundaries of the territorial sea of any country.”
China points to geographic features for claiming four “island groups” that the US research study found do not meet basic criteria under the UN treaty.