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Facts Speak Louder than Words
Historical facts about the Philippines' illegal occupation of some Nansha islands and reefs
2016/05/18

Western media have vehemently hyped up the South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines recently for the purpose of endorsing the arbitration and creating the false impression in the international community that China "doesn't comply with international laws" and "bullies a small country". But no matter how eloquent they sound, the truth is self-evident if we take a look at history.

It is well-known that the Philippine territory was defined by the Treaty of Peace of Paris 1898 between the United States and Spain, Treaty between the Kingdom of Spain and the United States of America for Cession of Outlying Islands of the Philippines signed in 1900 and the 1930 Convention regarding the Boundary between the Philippine Archipelago and the State of North Borneo between the United States and Britain, which limited the Philippine territory to the east of 118°E. This was confirmed by the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines in 1935. But the Philippines began to covet China's Nansha Islands in the 1930s, made unlawful territorial claims many times and gradually revealed its ambition to encroach upon those islands.

On August 12, 1933, a former senator of the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands wrote to the American governor in the Philippines, trying to claim that some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands were part of Philippine territory on the grounds of "geographical proximity". But the U.S. expressly negated this point of view in August 1935 and pointed out that Nansha Islands were geologically separated from the Palawan Island and its islets, and that Spain had never exercised or claimed sovereignty over any island before the U.S. acquired the Philippines.

But the Philippines didn't give in after its request was refused by the U.S., and its ambition to encroach upon those islands was inflated. On July 23, 1946, Quirino, Vice President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that the Shinnan Gunto (China's Nansha Islands) should be handed over to the Philippines and incorporated in its scope of national defense because they were "of critical importance for its security". On May 17, 1950, Philippine President Quirino claimed again that "Nansha Islands should belong to the nearest country, that is, the Philippines." In March 1956, Cloma, owner of the Philippine Maritime Institute, organized a private expedition to China's Nansha Islands, claimed them as "terra nullius" regardless of facts, even named them "Kalayaan" and applied to the Philippine government to incorporate them in its territory. Because of solemn representation from China, the Philippines said the "Cloma Incident" had nothing to do with the government and it had no intention of lodging territorial claims on the Nansha Islands.

Although it made such a statement, the Philippine government had never given up its plot to encroach upon those islands it had long coveted and eventually reached out its hands to them. In the 1970s, China was in a special historical period and its management and control of the South China Sea islands and reefs was loose. As a result, the Philippines occupied China's Mahuan Dao, Feixin Dao, Nanyao Dao, Zhongye Dao, Xiyue Dao, Beizi Dao, Shuanghuang Shazhou and Siling Jiao in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1980 successively. Immediately after that, it released a presidential decree and revised the constitution to officially and openly pronounce its occupation of those islands and reefs and incorporated them in its so-called "territorial scope".

To continue its territorial expansion and legalize its illegal occupation of some islands and reefs in China's Nansha Islands, the Philippines has concocted a series of false theories, such as "terra nullius", "trust territory", "geographical proximity", "need for national security" and "exclusive economic zone and continental shelf". It even took great pains to stage the farce of arbitration in order to whitewash its illegal actions. The so-called "bases" provided by the Philippines can barely hold water because they are neither well-grounded on facts nor consistent with international laws on territory. Historical documents record in great detail how the Philippines has illegally encroached upon China's Nansha islands and reefs step by step, and it cannot gloss over its crimes under the hypocritical mask no matter how hard it tries.

The Chinese government and people have an unshakable resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and they will unswervingly guard the Nansha Islands - a treasure passed down through the generations of the Chinese nation. The Philippines' plot to encroach upon China's Nansha Islands is just a dream that will never come true. As Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a recent press conference, "history will prove who is just a passenger and who the real owner is."

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