“China has no such plan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on April 6 when asked if China has a plan to maintain a permanent presence at Julian Felipe Reef which China calls as Niu’e Jiao.
However, Zhao maintained that the said reef is owned by China. “The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The reef and the waters around it have always been an important fishing ground and shelter for Chinese fishermen. It is completely normal for Chinese fishing vessels to fish in the waters and take shelter during rough sea conditions,” he said.
He also said that “The Tribunal’s Award in the “South China Sea Arbitration” is illegal, null and void. China neither accepts nor recognizes the award, and we firmly oppose any claims or actions based on the award,” he said.
“China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea have been formed throughout a long course of history and are consistent with international law. The Philippines attempts to use an illegal, null and void award to negate China’s sovereignty, rights and interests, negate Chinese fishermen’s fishing history and rights in their traditional fishing grounds in the Nansha Islands which have been continued for as long as a thousand of years. This is a violation of international law including the UN Charter and UNCLOS. It is utterly unacceptable,” the Chinese spokesperson noted.