Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) are China's inherent territory, said a white paper issued Wednesday.
The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea dated back to over 2,000 years ago, 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 document was issued by the State Council Information Office.
"China is the first to have discovered, named, and explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and the first to have continuously, peacefully and effectively exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them," the white paper said.
China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law, it said.
After the end of the Second World War, China recovered and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao which were invaded and illegally occupied by Japan during its war of aggression against China.
China drew the map on which the dotted line is marked. This map was officially published and made known to the world by the Chinese government in 1948, according to the white paper.
The People's Republic of China, since its founding, has further upheld its sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea, it said.
"China has never ceased carrying out activities such as patrolling and law enforcement, resources development and scientific survey on Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters," it added.
Nanhai Zhudao have been widely recognized as part of China's territory by the international community after the end of the Second World War, the document said.
Many countries recognize that Nanhai Zhudao are part of China's territory. The encyclopedias, yearbooks and maps published in many countries mark Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands) as belonging to China, according to the white paper.