The core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines' invasion and illegal occupation by force, starting in the 1970s, of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands), said a white paper issued Wednesday.
"The Philippines has concocted many excuses to cover up this fact, and to pursue its territorial pretensions," said the document, titled "China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea."
The Philippines' relevant claim is groundless from the perspectives of either history or international law, said the white paper issued by the State Council Information Office.
In addition, with the development of the international law of the sea, a maritime delimitation dispute also arose between China and the Philippines regarding certain maritime areas of the South China Sea, according to the white paper.
China firmly upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, it added.
Meanwhile, bearing in mind the overall interest of regional peace and stability, China has exercised great restraint, stayed committed to peacefully settling relevant disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea, and made tireless efforts to this end, the white paper said.
In doing so, China and the Philippines have reached important consensus, including to peacefully settle through negotiation their relevant disputes in the South China Sea; to exercise restraint in handling relevant disputes and refrain from taking actions that may lead to an escalation; to commit themselves to pursuing practical maritime cooperation and joint development; and to work to ensure that the relevant disputes should not affect the healthy growth of bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea region, according to the white paper.
In 2002, China and the ten ASEAN Member States signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in which the parties solemnly "undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned," it said.