Q: As reported by some foreign media, the Philippines and the arbitral tribunal are attempting to characterize Taiping Dao of China's Nansha Islands as a "rock" other than an "island". However, according to experts and journalists who recently visited Taiping Dao, it is an island boasting plenty of fresh water and lush vegetation. The installations and facilities for medical care, postal service, energy generation, and scientific research are all available and in good working condition. It is vibrant and lively everywhere on this island. Do you have any comment on this?
A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters, including Taiping Dao. China has, based on the Nansha Islands as a whole, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Over the history, Chinese fishermen have resided on Taiping Dao for years, working and living there, carrying out fishing activities, digging wells for fresh water, cultivating land and farming, building huts and temples, and raising livestock. The above activities are all manifestly recorded in Geng Lu Bu (Manual of Sea Routes) which was passed down from generation to generation among Chinese fishermen, as well as in many western navigation logs before the 1930s.
The working and living practice of Chinese people on Taiping Dao fully proves that Taiping Dao is an "island" which is completely capable of sustaining human habitation or economic life of its own. The Philippines' attempt to characterize Taiping Dao as a "rock" exposed that its purpose of initiating the arbitration is to deny China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and relevant maritime rights and interests. This violates international law, and is totally unacceptable.