China writes to New York Times, says West Philippine Sea editorial ‘not fair’

The Chinese Embassy in United States, July 28, wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times’ editorial page regarding to the paper’s July 17 editorial on West Philippine Sea entitled “The South China Sea, in Court”. Press Counselor and Spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in the US Zhu Haiquan said in the letter that NYT’s “editorial “The South China Sea, in Court,” about the arbitration case raised by the Philippines over rights to the South China Sea, is not fair.”

The said editorial appeared in NYT’s print and website July 17.

“China, a latecomer to land reclamation, has been exercising utmost restraint. But the status quo has long been broken by the Philippines and some other claimants, which built facilities, including military ones, on the reefs owned by China,” Zhu Haiquan further said.

He added that China’s approach toward solving the South China Sea issue is to have direct dialogue and negotiation between claimants, which is more effective and sustainable. Zhu Haiquan also said China and the Philippines had tried such talks before, but the Philippine side unilaterally stopped them in 2012.

The NYT editorial written by its “The Editorial Board” said “previous efforts to resolve the contested claims diplomatically, either through bilateral discussions between China and the various claimants or in a regional process, failed. That is because the status quo suits China just fine, allowing it considerable freedom to expand its control.”

The NYT editorial further said that Philippines going to The Hague to pursue its maritime claims is “far wiser than confronting China on the high seas and deserves the support of the United States and countries in that region.”

It added that if China wants to be recognized as a leader in a world that values the resolution of disputes within a legal framework.

China turning tiny coral specks into substantial artificial islands to assert jurisdiction, expelling Filipino fishermen from Ayungin shoal and preventing the Philippines from carrying out oil and gas explorations in some areas that Manila considers its territorial waters were also noted in the said editorial.