China launches website to highlight its case on South China Sea

(From PTI)

China on Wednesday launched a new website to defend its stance over the South China Sea after an international tribunal quashed its claims over the disputed area.

Still image from United States Navy video purportedly shows Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

The website on the South China Sea is complete with historical maps to assert China’s claims.

The July 12 verdict by the tribunal appointed by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration struck down China’s nine- dash line over the South China Sea based on historical rights and upheld the claims of the Philippines in sections of the South China Sea .

China claims all most all of the South China Sea. Besides the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.

China boycotted the tribunal and rejected its verdict, saying it was constituted illegally.

Run by China’s National Marine Data & Information Service, the Chinese language website site has 10 sections that cover basic information, news, historical archives, development and management, expert opinion, law and regulations, a timeline of major events, pictures and videos and Q&A.

“The South China Sea has drawn huge attention, but some information online is not accurate,” said Zhang Haiwen, an official of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) which launched the website.

“We hope that this website will enable domestic and overseas people to better understand it and learn about the truth behind the ‘dispute’ over it.”

According to Zhang, the website contains not only maps and archives but also exclusive analysis and expository articles based on experts’ research of thousands of maps, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhang cited that a map often used by Vietnam to prove that it owned the Xisha Islands was actually pieced together by two maps, which have already been obtained by experts and might be used to refute the country’s claim.

Zhang said new findings will be published on the website once verified.

 The SOA said that information on the website must first be reviewed by an expert panel and be “comprehensive, authoritative, detailed and accurate.”
“The website is founded with the aim of positively publicising our policies, claims, historical proof, legal basis and international cooperation while serving as a reliable channel for domestic and overseas government departments, research groups and individuals to learn about the South China Sea,” SOA spokesperson Shi Qingfeng said.
The website has now six domain names.

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