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China's Resuming Exercise of Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands is Part of the Post-war International Order
2016-06-22 22:06

War and peace wrestle with one another throughout the pages of human history. For a very long time, war was considered a legal means to capture new territories. After World War I, people began to reflect on war that had caused the widespread devastation and sufferings.

However, World War I was followed by wars of aggression started outrageously by Germany, Japan and other countries that had been turned into fascist states. During the Japanese war of aggression against China, Japan illegally seized some parts of the South China Sea Islands, including the Dongsha Islands, the Xisha Islands, and the Nansha Islands. Chinese people resolutely resisted the Japanese aggression and managed to defend the nation and its territory, making indelible contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. Before World War II was brought to an end, some people of wisdom and vision had been thinking about how to build a post-war order upholding equity and justice to secure lasting peace on earth. The Cairo Declaration of December 1943 stipulated that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese shall be restored to China. It was reiterated in the Potsdam Proclamation of July 1945 that “the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out”. In September 1945, Japan announced the acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender it had signed. At the end of the war, China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands. The Charter of the United Nations came into force in October 1947, setting forth a series of purposes and principles, including the sovereign equality of all its Members, refraining from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity and suppression of acts of aggression. It marked that the post-war international order and territorial arrangements started to take shape.

The Charter of the United Nations and a host of other international documents embody the aspirations of all mankind and make peace and development the main pursuit of the international community after World War II. Regrettably, the international order has been frequently challenged and disrupted since the day it was established.

Since the 1970s, the Philippines and Vietnam have laid unlawful claim to sovereignty over China’s islands and reefs in the South China Sea and illegally occupied a number of islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Islands by force. This is against the purposes and principles set forth by the Charter of the United Nations such as refraining from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity and suppression of acts of aggression, the fundamental principles governing international relations such as respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, and the territorial arrangements agreed in a series of international documents produced after World War II. The post-war “status quo” of the South China Sea has been changed since the Philippines and Vietnam illegally occupied some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Islands, giving rise to the South China Sea issue.

Such countries are disguising themselves as “victims” to win the sympathy of the international community. They even attempt to cover up the fact of illegally occupying China’s territory under the banner of the international rule of law. Some countries just turn a blind eye to and endorse such unlawful acts for their own gains and even threaten to use force if China does not accept their unlawful claims. This is a dangerous attempt to upset the post-war international order, which, if winked at, will lead to the fall of firewall against war built based on human conscience and international justice.

The acme of human wisdom about international relations since early modern times is crystallized in the Charter of the United Nations and other international documents produced after World War II. Chinese people made arduous efforts in helping to build and uphold the post-war international order, committed to promoting the establishment of an equitable and reasonable international order based on the Charter of the United Nations and other related international documents. As a responsible major country and one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China will work with all the countries that love peace and pursue international justice in maintaining the post-war international order and preventing any unlawful act of occupying another country’s territory.

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