BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A senior publicity official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Thursday urged African news outlets to report on the South China Sea issue in an impartial and fair manner to present "a real South China Sea" to both Africa and the world.
Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and head of the State Council Information Office, made the remarks at the 6th African digital TV Development Seminar held in Beijing which gathered officials from close to 40 Asian, African and Latin American countries.
Jiang said before the 1970s, it was widely recognized by the international community that the South China Sea Islands belong to China and no country ever challenged this. But lured by oil and gas resources, some coastal countries began to invade and illegally occupied some of China's islands and reefs, he said.
In particular, the Philippines and some other countries have sought to deny China' s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands.
"We could have stopped them, but instead, we exercised great restraint," Jiang said, "But there is a bottom-line here - we will never make compromises on our country's sovereignty."
The CPC publicity official said China has always adhered to the settlement of overlapping territorial disputes through negotiations and consultations by countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.
Jiang said the Philippines' unilateral initiation of the South China Sea arbitration is a "boring game" by Manila and "behind-the-scenes forces," due to China's non-acceptance and non-participation.
"The arbitration has no legal significance whatsoever and is not contributing to the settlement of the issue. It only serves to fuel tension," he said.
China made a declaration on exceptions in 2006 in accordance with the UNCLOS, which excluded disputes concerning maritime delimitation, historical bays or titles, as well as military and law enforcement activities from the dispute settlement procedures provided for in the convention.
The arbitral tribunal would "set a dangerous precedent and open a Pandora's box at sea" if it arbitrarily issues an award, he said.
Jiang also criticised the United States for "militarizing the South China Sea in the name of opposing militarization."
"U.S. actions have deepened China's concerns over its own interests, and strengthened its determination to protect its own interests," he said.
He went on to attack some Western media for their "selective coverage" on the South China Sea issue by omitting, sometimes even distorting the truth and China's position, in an attempt to "mislead the international community."
"I hope our friends from African news outlets will be fair, pay more attention to the South China Sea issue, report more on China's voices on the issue and present the real South China Sea to people of Africa and of the world," Jiang said. Enditem