BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- A lot of misunderstandings need to be clarified to continue the peace in the South China Sea now threatened by an arbitration from the outside, according to an article carried recently in the newspaper South China Morning Post.
"Throughout its history, the South China Sea has remained a 'sea of peace' untouched by a large-scale battle," said the article bylined by Wang Wen, noting that the arbitration, with an award due on Tuesday, "is turning this region into a powder keg."
The article published on Sunday in the newspaper based in Hong Kong, China, listed major myths about China's stance, legal claims and activities in the region.
China's stance against the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines in 2013 violates no international law, it argued.
China's stance, summarized as "non-acceptance, non-participation, non-recognition, and non-execution," is based on the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed between China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and China's 2006 statement to exclude maritime delimitation from compulsory dispute settlement procedures in accordance with Article 298 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties states that disputes should be resolved by those countries directly involved, through friendly consultations and negotiations, while the nature of the Beijing-Manila dispute involves the sovereignty claim over the Nansha Islands and maritime rights -- territorial issues that are beyond the scope of the Law of the Sea.
In his article, Wang calls the Philippine initiation of compulsory arbitration "illegal." It "violates the fourth article of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties, abuses the Law of the Sea arbitration procedures, and infringes China's right to choose the means of dispute settlement."
Nor does the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague have the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the case, said the article, which is an edited translation of a speech the scholar gave at the recent U.S.-China dialogue on the South China Sea.
Wang is the executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. His latest bestseller is "Anxieties of U.S.A."
The accusation that the "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea marking China's sovereignty and relevant rights does not comply with the Law of the Sea does not hold water, the article further pointed out.
It criticized using the Law of the Sea as a basis to judge the nine-dash line, citing that the line predated the Law of the Sea, and the latter embodies respect for historical rights and territorial sovereignty.
China insists on its indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, never on that over the whole South China Sea -- a misunderstanding blamed on incorrect media reports.
The article also refuted the alleged China threat to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, citing the shipping lanes there as being among the busiest in the world, in addition to China's constant efforts to seek peace, stability and joint development in the region.
It reaffirmed China's rejection of the so-called "status quo" -- the illegal occupation of China's islands and reefs by the Philippines and other countries. That term, it noted, did not exist until Washington began to apply its strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific.
China's construction activities in the South China Sea are fundamentally different from the "artificial islands, installations and structures" defined in the Law of the Sea. They are conducted on natural features as part of the Nansha Islands, mainly for civilian purposes and without causing environmental damage, according to the article.
In accordance with international law, China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands also covers its components and various natural features and related waters. The claim by some countries against the territorial status of related natural features "is nothing but an out-of-context interpretation of international law," the article said.
Describing it as "groundless" to accuse China of militarizing the South China Sea, the article cited the deepened U.S. intervention in the region, "high-profile displays of military strength and frequent and large-scale military drills by certain countries and their allies" there.
The article also defended China's actions in the South China Sea as "necessary" versus "assertive" as claimed by many people. China's moves are "necessary to protect its legitimate interests, and are justified reactions to provocations by other claimant states," it said.
"The tensions in the region can be attributed to collusion between the U.S. and regional claimant states. It is popularly believed that, without Washington's backing and high-profile policy of 'returning to Asia,' regional states would not be so eager to challenge China's interests in the South China Sea," concluded the article.