Q: After the East Asia Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting, some Japanese media reported that though still in parallel with China on the South China Sea issue, Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community and urge China to abide by international law and accept the arbitration ruling. What is your comment?
A: We have noted these reports by the Japanese media as well as some comments made by Japanese officials after the East Asia Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting. I want to remind them that on the South China Sea issue, it is not just with China that Japan is at a parallel state. In fact, Japan finds no common ground with more and more countries around the world on this issue. The East Asia Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting witnessed China and ASEAN countries agree to return to the track of negotiation and consultation for the settlement of the South China Sea issue at an early date. China and ASEAN countries made a point by issuing the joint statement on fully and effectively implementing the DOC, which further clarifies the bilateral consensus to peacefully resolve specific disputes surrounding the South China Sea by parties directly concerned through dialogue and bilateral negotiation and jointly maintain regional stability. The majority of the attendees at the meeting, without mentioning the arbitration case, believed that the South China Sea issue should cool down as soon as possible and disputes shall be resolved by parties directly concerned through direct negotiation and consultation. We once pointed out that Japan acted more excited than any other countries when the so-called ruling of the arbitration case came out. In face of the clear attitude of the majority memebers of the international community and in face of the positive spirit of cooperation demonstrated by littoral countries in the South China Sea including parties directly concerned in the dispute, it is baffling for us to see some Japanese people still refuse to accept the reality and walk out their bubbles of illusion. To refuse to acknowledge defeat is the most pathetic.
Japan said it would cooperate with the international community. Maybe it needs to make sure, first and foremost, what the international community is and what position the international community holds on the South China Sea issue. So far, more than 80 countries and international and regional organizations have voiced their understanding on and support to China's position in various way, despite two or three countries who are still repeating their monologue that the so-called ruling is binding and complies with international law. For the sake of preseving the dignity and sanctity of international law, it is hoped that these two or three countries can give up their erroneous position and take up the just position held by the majority of the international community, instead of the contrary.
How could Japan ask China to follow international law and accept the ruling, since these two are contradictory. The so-called arbitration, illegal and invalid from day one, deviated so greatly from international law and common practice of arbitration. As far as we are concerned, we firmly safeguard the true international law, always have and always will. We hope that Japan can also truly respect international law and international order, instead of distorting and bending international rules at its own will.
Some people in Japan may feel disappointed with the outcome of this meeting. Truth be told, they are disppointed with the outcome of almost all the recent mutilateral meeting. It is time for them to cool down and think why they have become the minority. The longer they stay on the erroneous path, the more disappointed they are bound to get, the farther away they will be with other countries. We sincerely hope that Japan can face up to the reality, embrace the trend of the times, follow international law, international rules and order, and make some real efforts for regional peace, stability, harmony and prosperity, instead of the opposite.