China falsely uses term Four Sha instead of nine-dash line in SCS

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China falsely uses term Four Sha instead of nine-dash line in SCS

An article on Radio Free Asia on January 18 argues that China seems to be changing its theory to support its claims in the South China SeaChina Sea SCS article, citing Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, claimed that Beijing has used more of the term Four Sha instead of nine-dash line. Some observers said that Chinese officials had mentioned the so-called Four Sha in a closed-door meeting with US State Department officials in 2017. Four Sha, or Four Sands Archipelago, is used to describe China's four island groups in the SCS Xisha, Dongsha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands. These are the territories that China has historically held historical rights to. Some forces are using the term Four Sha, but this is a newly created rumor to confuse the SCS issue. The Chinese government and scholars who have studied the SCS have never proposed or used the concept of Four Sha, and China's claims in the SCS have never changed. China's claims to territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction over the four islands in the SCS are not in conflict with the nine-dash line. They are part of Beijing's SCS claims. The intentions of those people are clear. They try to confuse international public opinion through rumors, in order to lead the international community to believe that China has abandoned the nine-dash line claim. They want to draw attention to the nine-dash line claim and China's historical rights again, pushing China's claims to the SCS to the cusp of public opinion and pressure China. Third, they are repeating the rhetoric to draw attention to the arbitral award's denial of the legal status of China's SCS claims. Many people who are unfamiliar with the SCS issue and international law have questioned China's historical claims. They come to the conclusion that China's claims don't have the basis of international law, without sufficient study of history, rules of international law, or international practice. The SCS Arbitral Award of July 12, 2016 is a typical example. It is well known that China was the first country to discover, name, exploit and manage the SCS islands in written records. The SCS is the traditional fishing of thousands of fishermen in coastal areas of South China. This, together with the Chinese government's consistent governance in the region, constitutes China's historic rights in the SCS at both the nongovernmental and official levels. The nine-dash line is China's recognition of maritime claims arising from historical practices before the formation of modern international laws of the sea. The UNCLOS, a modern maritime intuition, was adopted in 1982 by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to clarify the concepts of the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, and other maritime rights of neighboring countries in the SCS. There is an ambiguity about some issues, such as some countries' existing historical rights in the region. China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China SeaChina Sea, including the Four Sha, which has resulted in disputes between countries in some areas. China enjoys the internal waters, territorial waters, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf based on the four islands, according to the UNCLOS. China has historical rights in the SCS.China has always been committed to promoting the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the SCS and accelerating consultations on the Code of Conduct COC in the SCS. China has actively promoted cooperation with other disputing countries in marine environmental protection, law enforcement, scientific research, and other fields. Such rumors that fool the international community are clearly contrary to the development trend toward peace and stability of the SCS. China and the ASEAN should not waste too much energy on fighting a war of words and should avoid small disputes from affecting bilateral relations. China and the neighboring countries in the SCS should keep their word up and implement the consensus they have reached. They should focus on creating a favorable atmosphere for resolving maritime disputes and managing maritime crises through friendly bilateral consultations, as well as to accelerating the negotiation of the COC in the South China SeaChina Sea and building a rule-based maritime order. Some people who study the SCS issue shouldn't be affected by these rumors. They should aim for the stability of the SCS and the peaceful settlement of disputes, objectively view historical problems, and uphold the principles of seriousness and justice in the law of the sea, and contribute wisdom to making the SCS a sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation. The author is the director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China SeaChina Sea Studies.