No third party can explore oil, gas in South China Sea: Beijing

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Oct 02, 2015 01:12 IST
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy. (Reuters)

China on Thursday said no third country has the right to explore oil and gas in the South China Sea in areas under its jurisdiction and without its permission.

Responding to questions on the India-US-Japan statement on access to navigation and commerce in maritime routes across the world including the South China Sea, China said it has indisputable rights not only on the Spratly (Nansha in Chinese) islands but also on the sea bed around it.

Beijing is locked in disputes with multiple countries in the region over the ownership of islands on the South China Sea and much of the seas around the islands.

The list includes Vietnam with which India has an agreement to allow ONGC to explore undersea oil in areas over which China claims jurisdiction.

“China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters as well as sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant seabed and subsoil. China is against any country or enterprise’s oil and gas exploration activity in the waters under China’s jurisdiction without China’s permission,” the ministry of foreign Affairs told HT in response to a list of questions without mentioning India.

China said that existing mechanisms were working well to contain the disputes and that it will not allow countries outside the region to interfere.

“Until now, all the mechanisms are working well and continuously achieved new important progresses. For now, the situation in South China Sea is tending toward stability. China is determined to maintain the hard-won stability. Countries outside the region should respect the efforts of China and countries concerned to maintain the peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the response said.

The ministry said China is following the principle of “Five Persistence”.

“Persistence in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea; persistence in settling disputes with the party concerned according to international law via bilateral negotiation based on respect for historical facts; persistence in relying on rule-based system to control disputes; persistence in sustaining the freedom of flight and navigation in South China Sea; persistence in practising a win-win policy via cooperation.”

On Wednesday, India, the US and Japan had emphasised the need to follow international law in settling disputes, freedom of navigation and over-flight and unhindered lawful commerce across seas including the South China Sea.

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