Yang Jiechi Expresses China's Solemn Stance on the South China Sea Issue to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia

On February 18, 2016, State Councilor Yang Jiechi met in Beijing with visiting Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia, and both sides exchanged views on developing China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership.

When talking about the South China Sea issue, Yang Jiechi stressed that islands in the South China Sea have been China's territory since ancient times and China has right to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China building facilities on relevant islands and reefs of the South China Sea is largely for civil purposes and to better provide public products and services to the international community. China deploying limited defense facilities on its own territory has nothing to do with militarization, but is to exercise the defense right a sovereign state is entitled to under the international law, which is natural and completely legitimate.

Yang Jiechi pointed out that Australia is not a country directly involved in the South China Sea issue, and it should strictly abide by its commitment on taking no side on the South China Sea sovereign disputes and should not get involved in and do anything that damages regional peace and stability as well as China-Australia relations.

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