Beijing: Taking strong exception to India
going ahead with the oil exploration programme in the blocks
claimed by Vietnam in the South China Sea, China on Monday raised
its pitch saying any exploration activity in its coast would
amount to "infringement" of its sovereignty.
"China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the South
China Sea islands and our position is based on full historical
and jurisprudential evidence," Chinese Foreign Ministry
Spokesman, Hong Lei told a media briefing here today.
"Any country engaged in oil and gas exploration
activities in this jurisdiction without the approval of the
Chinese government constitutes an infringement upon China`s
sovereignty and national interest and are therefore illegal
and invalid," he said.
"We hope relevant countries keep China`s claim, position
and rights and interest in mind, follow the Declaration on the
Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and Guidelines in
real earnest, refrain from unilateral actions that may
complicate and magnify the dispute.
Countries outside the region should respect efforts by
regional countries to solve this dispute through bilateral
negotiations," he said.
Asked whether China expects that India and Vietnam should
take its permission for oil exploration, Hong said China`s
historical and jurisprudential evidence prove that China first
discovered the first South China Sea islands and was the first
to exercise administration over the islands.
"Since then China has management and control over these
islands which form the historical rights of China in the South
“Specifically, since the Han Dynasty China discovered the
relevant islands and since the Tang Dynasty successive Chinese
governments have exercised administration over the islands,"
"When the People`s Republic of China was formed in 1949,
the Chinese government continues to exercise administration
over the relevant islands and this is formed over the long
course of history and has been adhered to by the Chinese
“China is committed to on the basis of respecting
historical facts and international law resolve the differences
through friendly consultation in a peaceful manner," he said.
To another question whether the explorations outside of
the 12 nautical miles from the reefs and shoals area of the
Islands will be ok with China, Hong said, "I would like to
emphasise that any country or company without the approval of
the Chinese government engaged in oil and gas exploration and
development activities in the waters in China`s jurisdiction
constitute infringement on China`s sovereignty and national
interest," he said.
India for its part said that the ONGC Videsh oil
exploration programme with Vietnam was very much under
international law and would go ahead with it.