Xinhua published a rebuttal to Western comments that China may have softened its stance on the South China Sea issue, which they made in the light of China’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hong Lei’s statement that “no countries, including China, have laid claim to the entire South China Sea.” The article holds, “China has never laid claim to the entire South China Sea. Instead China has maintained that it has sovereignty and jurisdiction over the islands in the South China Sea as well as their adjacent waters. This position is consistent and clear. … In fact, [Hong Lei’s] statement is a strong rebuttal to those who, with the ulterior motive to cause confusion, have distorted China’s position on the issue of sovereignty over the South China Sea.” Even countries that have made no claim to sovereignty have taken turns holding joint military exercises or submitting bids for oil and gas in the South China Sea region, thus creating instability.
Source: Xinhua, March 12, 2012