A diplomatic cable released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks said China could not specify a historical document to support its claims to disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
In diplomatic cable 08BEIJING3499 sent to Washington by the US embassy in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2008, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) official and a local scholar could not identify specific historical records to justify China’s “Nine Dashes” claim that covers the whole Spratlys and areas within other countries’ exclusive economic zones.
MFA Department of Treaty and Law Oceans and Law of the Sea Division Deputy Director Yin Wenqiang told a US embassy political officer on Aug. 30, 2008 that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.”
“Yin admitted he is not aware of the historical basis for the ‘Nine Dashes’ and only mentioned unspecified ‘Chinese historical documents’ that indicate the basis for China’s claims on territory west of the Philippines,” the US embassy official said.
According to Wikileaks, Yang said China’s claims “date back to ancient times, prior to the development of the modern nation-state.”
“Neither MFA’s Yin nor Beijing University’s Yang could specify a historical document that indicated the basis for the demarcation of the ‘Nine Dashes’,” the cable added.
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