China claims 1,000 years sovereignty over SCS

Beijing: Refuting US allegations of building a “maritime empire” in the disputed South China Sea, China on Tuesday claimed its jurisdiction over the vast ocean existed for more than 1,000 years and accused Washington of attempting to sow discord between Beijing and the Southeast Asian countries.

In a major policy speech on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the world will not allow China to treat the strategically important South China Sea (SCS) as its “maritime empire” and vowed to support worried Southeast Asian countries against Beijing’s “campaign of bullying” to control the resource-rich region.

Reacting to Pompeo’s statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that the secretary of state’s remarks neglected the history and facts about the SCS.

His remarks also breaches the US government’s open commitment to not taking position on sovereignty related issues of the SCS, Zhao said.

He disputed the US assertions that China has come up with its nine-dashed line in the SCS in 2009 to beef up its claims.

“The US says China announced a dotted line in the SCS in 2009. It is not true. China’s rights and sovereignty has a long history. Our effective jurisdiction over the relevant islands reefs and waters in the SCS has been there for over 1,000 years, Zhao claimed.

“As early as 1948 China had officially published the dotted line which is not questioned by any country in the region, he said, adding that China’s rights have legal and historical basis.

Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. (PTI)


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