On January 4, the State Council of the People's Republic of China promulgated the Opinions on Promoting the Construction and Development of International Tourism Islands in Hainan, stressing that efforts be made to actively and steadily promote tourism in Xisha Qundao and orderly development of tourism on uninhabited islands.
On July 8, Indonesia sent a note to the United Nations Secretary-General regarding the diplomatic note submitted by China on May 7, 2009 concerning the proposal jointly submitted by Vietnam and Malaysia for delimitation of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in southwestern South China Sea, particularly raising doubts over the attached map, which highlighted the Chinese sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and the adjoining waters, and the sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant seas and subsoil thereof.
On July 23, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers in ASEAN Regional Forum that the United States was gravely concerned about the peaceful settlement of "disputes in the South China Sea," saying that territorial disputes in the South China Sea were related to US national interests.
On April 5, the Philippines challenged the United Nations on CML/17/2009 and CML/18/2009 submitted by China to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in 2009, challenging some of China's claims regarding the South China Sea.
On July 20, at a Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC held in Bali, Indonesia, China and ASEAN member states reached an agreement on the guidelines for implementation of the DOC, and the guidelines were unanimously adopted at the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting held on July 21.
During the state visit of Philippine President Benigno Aquino to China from August 30 to September 3, China and the Philippines issued a joint statement. Leaders of the two countries exchanged views on maritime disputes and reaffirmed their commitment to respect and abide by DOC signed by China and ASEAN member states in 2002.
On October 11, Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese President and Nguyen Phu Trung, the General Secretary of Vietnamese Communist Party Central Committee, signed the Agreement on the Basic Principles Guiding Settlement of Sea Issues between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The two sides agreed that "Disputes between China and Vietnam shall be settled through negotiation and friendly consultations" and that "Efforts shall be made to steadily push forward negotiations for delimitation of the sea off the Beibu Bay and actively discuss the issue of common development of the waters."
On November 19, Premier Wen Jiabao clarified China's position on the issue of the South China Sea at the Sixth East Asia Summit held in Bali, Indonesia. Premier Wen pointed out that China's basic position and proposition on the South China Sea issue were clear and consistent, that South China Sea disputes should be settled peacefully through friendly consultations and negotiations among directly interested sovereign states, that the South China Sea had been an important transport corridor for China, other countries in the region and even those around the world and that the Chinese government had made positive contributions to safeguarding navigation safety in the South China Sea.
On March 13, the spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry said in commenting the RTHK report of Vietnam about to send six monks to occupy some abandoned temples in Nansha Qundao that he hoped Vietnam would abide by the principles of the DOC and Agreement on the Basic Principles Guiding Settlement of Sea Issues between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and refrain from actions to complicate the situation.
On April 10, the Philippine Navy illegally embarked on Chinese fishing vessel operating in the waters of Huangyan Dao for inspection, and a China Marine Surveillance (CMS) detachment arrived in time to stop the Philippine side from seizing the fishermen, protecting their personal safety and property security.
On May 3, the Philippines illegally renamed Huangyan Dao to "Panatag Shoal."
On June 21, the Congress of Vietnam adopted the Marine Law, putting Chinese Xisha Qundao and Nansha Qundao under the scope of the so-called Vietnamese "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction." On the same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China issued a statement, reiterating that Xisha Qundao and Nansha Qundao are Chinese territory, and that China had indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their adjacent waters. Territorial claims by any country for Nansha Qundao and Xisha Qundao, and any action taken thereof, should be illegal and invalid.
On June 21, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China issued Notice of the Ministry of Civil Affairs on the Approval of the State Council for Establishing the County-level City of Sansha, announcing the revocation of the Administration Office of Xisha Qundao, Nansha Qundao and Zhongsha Qundao, and establishment of Sansha City for managing the islands, reefs and the adjacent waters of Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha Qundao. The People's Government of Sansha City would be seated in Yongxing Dao of Xisha Qundao.
On June 25, China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced that nine marine blocks in the South China Sea were open to overseas company for cooperative exploration and development.
On July 20, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers reached six principles on the South China Sea issue: (1) to comprehensively implement the DOC and relevant declarations; (2) to implement the guidelines for follow-up actions of the DOC; (4) to comply fully with the norms of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; (5) to continue to exercise restraint and to refrain from the use of force by all parties; (6) to pursue peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
On July 20, the spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China would be willing to work with ASEAN member states to comprehensively and effectively implement the DOC and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, that China is open to discussing a "Code of Conduct for the South China Sea" (COC) with ASEAN member states and expressed the hope that all parties will faithfully abide by the DOC and create the necessary conditions and atmosphere for the negotiation of a COC.
On July 23, the first People's Congress of Sansha City, Hainan Province was held on Yongxing Dao of Xisha Qundao, and the governmental agency of the city authority was elected.
On July 23, the Philippine President Aquino issued a State of the Union address, in which he requested that China respect the Philippines sovereignty over Huangyan Dao in commenting the Huangyan Dao Incident. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in commenting the matter that United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was not a legal basis for determining the territorial sovereignty of Huangyan Dao, and thus could not change the fact that its sovereignty belonged to China.
On July 31, the Philippines advertised bidding the mining rights for three oil and gas fields in the South China Sea, and two of them were located in waters disputed by China and the Philippines.
On August 3, Patrick Ventrell, Deputy Spokesman of the US State Department issue a statement on the issue of the South China Sea, groundless accusing China of further aggravating the tensions in the South China Sea. On April 4, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China clarified China's solemn stand on the issue and pointed out that "The so-called statement on the South China Sea issue by the US State Department blatantly ignored the facts and confounded right and wrong, sending a serious wrong signal and undermining the efforts by all parties to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea and even the Asia-Pacific Region. China expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to it."
On August 28, China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced the second batch of China's maritime areas to be opened in 2012. Of the 26 blocks opened for cooperation with foreign companies, 22 were located in the waters of the South China Sea.
On September 12, the Philippine government officially promulgated the "Executive Order No. 29" signed by the Philippine President Aquino on September 5. Titled "Naming of the West Philippine Sea by Republic of the Philippines", the order named the waters to the west of the Philippine islands, including "Luzon (i.e., part of the South China Sea), "Kalayaan Islands" (that is, part of the reefs in Chinese Nansha Qundao occupied by the Philippines), "Panatag Shoal" (i.e., Chinese Huangyan Dao) and the adjoining waters "West Philippine Sea" in an attempt to "determine the seas over which the Philippine owns sovereignty and jurisdiction."
On September 13, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting the illegal renaming by the Philippine government of the South China Sea to "West Philippine Sea" that for a long time, the South China Sea had been the name recognized by the international community and widely accepted by countries around the world, the United Nations and other international organizations. Therefore, the move by the Philippine side could not change the fact that China had indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and the adjacent waters, including Nansha Qundao and Huangyan Dao.
On January 1, the Vietnamese Law of the Sea came into force. The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting the issue that China had indisputable sovereignty over Xisha Qundao, Nansha Qundao and the adjacent waters. Any territorial claim of and any action taken by any State in respect of the said islands shall be illegal and invalid. We are deeply concerned about the adverse impacts of the law on the situation in the South China Sea and we urge the Vietnamese side to refrain from any action that might complicate and aggravate problems.
At the beginning of January, SinoMaps Press published the latest vertical version of China's topographic map, displaying for the first time Nanhai Zhudao with the same proportion and presenting a panoramic view of China's territorial land and seas.
On January 22, Del Rosario, the Philippine Foreign Minister, summoned Ma Keqing, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, to inform China that the Philippines had in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea submitted the sovereignty dispute over "West Philippine Sea" (the South China Sea) to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for arbitration.
On February 19, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines met with officials of the Philippine Foreign Ministry to return the notice of the Philippines regarding its submission of the China-Philippines dispute over the South China Sea for international arbitration.
On March 25, the Philippine Foreign Ministry said that as China refused to respond to the the arbitration requested by the Philippines, the Philippines would continue to unilaterally promote the arbitration proceedings, saying that Shunji Yanai the current president of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea had appointed on March 19 Stanislaw Pawlak, a Polish judge, to represent China at the arbitration of the dispute by the tribunal.
On March 26, the combat formation of the South China Sea Fleet patrolling and exercising in the South China Sea arrived in Zengmu Ansha (aka. James Shoal) in the southernmost tip of China, and held the oath-taking ceremony of "Take root in the South China Sea, Guard the South China Sea and Make a Difference in the South China Sea."
On April 5, China and Brunei issued the joint statement, during the visit of Hassanal the Brunei Sultan to China, agreeing to support the joint exploration and exploitation by relevant enterprises of offshore oil and gas resources on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and saying that such cooperation would not affect their respective stands on maritime rights and interests.
On April 25, Shunji Yanai the current president of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea appointed three arbitrators. Together with the Polish judge Mr. Stanislaw Pawlak (representing China), the German Judge Mr. Rüdiger Wolfrum (representing the Philippines) appointed in March, all five arbitrators were now appointed and the Court of Arbitration officially organized, to be chaired by Chris Pinto the Sri Lanka judge.
On April 26, the spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press conference regarding the efforts of the Philippines to push the establishment of an arbitration tribunal for the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea that the compulsory dispute settlement procedure regulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea should not be applicable to the issue submitted for arbitration by the Philippines. Moreover, the Chinese Government had submitted in 2006 a declaration in accordance with Article 298 of the Convention, excluding disputes over maritime delimitation from arbitration and other compulsory dispute settlement procedures. Therefore, the arbitration claim of the Philippines could not be sustained. China was fully justified by international laws to refuse to accept the arbitration requirements of the Philippines.
On April 26, the spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to a reporter's question that since the 1970s, the Philippines had blatantly ignored the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international laws and illegally occupied some of the islands of China's Nansha Qundao, including Mahuan Dao, Feixin Dao, Zhongye Dao, Nanyao Dao, Beizi Dao, Xiyue Dao, Shuanghuang Sandbar and Siling Jiao. China has always firmly opposed to its occupation and solemnly reiterated that the Philippines withdraw all personnel and facilities from the Chinese reefs.
On April 28, the cruise ship "Princess Coconut" set sail from Sanya, Hainan Province, and embarked on inaugural activities for its trial operation to Xisha Qundao. The tourism route to Xisha Qundao became formally operational in October 2013.
On May 9, the Chinese Taiwan fishing vessels "Guang Da Xing No. 28" was fired upon by a Filipino Maritime Control Surveillance ship while operating about 160 nautical miles to the southeast of Eluanbi in Pingtung County and about 5 nautical miles within "the southern section of the tentative delimitation line for fishery protection" and one crew member was killed.
On May 22, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting the protest of the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs against strengthened cruise by Chinese warships and marine surveillance vessels in the waters of Ren'ai Jiao in Nansha Qundao that the reef is a part of Nansha Qundao, the Chinese Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters have no arguable sovereignty, and Chinese official ships in the waters of the normal cruise are beyond reproach.
At the 46th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held on June 30, the Philippine Foreign Minister accused China of violating the DOC for ever increasing militarization trend in the South China Sea and that its series of destabilizing actions in the South China Sea had posed serious challenges to the region.
On July 1, Wang Yi the Chinese Foreign Minister unequivocally pointed in meeting with Kerry the US Secretary of State in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, that "the South China Sea issue is not a question between China and the US, and that the US side should understand and respect the efforts to maintain regional peace and stability by relevant states including China."
On July 11, Del Rosario the Philippine Foreign Minister blamed China for the South China Sea issue at a Belgian think-tank seminar and argued that the Philippines had exhausted all political and diplomatic means for a peaceful settlement of the dispute to no avail and had no choice but to seek a legal solution via international arbitration.
On July 12, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said at a regular press conference that the China had repeatedly expressed its position on the Philippines's submission of the South China Sea issue to international arbitration. China was fully justified by international laws to refuse the arbitration and the Philippines' claim of "exhausting all political and diplomatic means for peaceful settlement of disputes" was completely not true.
On July 15, Raul Hernandez the spokesman of the Philippine Foreign Ministry issued the so-called "eight facts" statement, claiming that in practice China's tough stance had made negotiations impossible, that the Philippines had to submit the dispute for international arbitration, and that it was impossible for the Philippines to continue bilateral negotiations with China on the dispute over the South China Sea.
On July 27, Shinzo Abe the Japanese Prime Minister, held talks with Philippine President Aquino in his visit to the Philippines. The two sides agreed to further strengthen maritime cooperation between the two countries.
On July 29, the US Senate passed a non-legally binding Resolution No. 167 on the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China expressed strong opposition to the resolution and made solemn representations to the US, urging relevant US senators to respect the facts and correct the mistakes."
On August 1, China submitted a note to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and reiterating its position of refusing to accept the arbitration instituted by the Philippines.
On August 5, Wang Yi the Chinese Foreign Minister proposed in Hanoi, Vietnam the four propositions of "reasonable expectations, negotiation for consensus building, elimination of interference, and advance in regular order" and suggested the roadmap for developing the DOC through negotiations.
On August 30, "2013 Tabletop Exercise of Joint Search and Rescue in the South China Sea" was held in Hainan, the channels for communication and collaboration in search and research further smoothed, and the mutual emergency response mechanism for marine emergencies established and improved.
On September 15, China and ASEAN member states held the 6th Senior Officials' Meeting on the implementation of the DOC.
On September 20, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that the South China Sea issue was not the whole of Sino-Vietnamese relations, but improper handling would affect the overall situation of bilateral relations. The leaders of the two countries had reached important consensuses on the issue of the South China Sea, which should be conscientiously implemented. That was also crucial for promoting bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields.
On October 3, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an address delivered in the Indonesian Parliament that Southeast Asia had always been an important hub of the Maritime Silk Road since ancient times and that China would be willing to strengthen maritime cooperation with ASEAN member states and develop maritime cooperative partnership to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
From October 3 to 5, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Malaysia. The two sides issued the Joint Press Release of the People's Republic of China and Malaysia, pointing out in the seventh point that "The two countries agree to dedicate to regional peace and stability, and advocate settling disputes through peaceful and friendly dialogues and consultations."
On October 6, the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and Australia held the Fifth Ministerial Meeting on Strategic Dialogue between the US, Japan and Australia at the interval of the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Bali and issued a joint statement on the issue of the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China pointed out in response that "The fact that the United States, Japan and Australia are allies should not be an excuse for intervening in territorial sovereignty disputes; otherwise, issues will only be complicated, at the cost of the interests of all parties." The three countries are urged to "respect the facts, distinguish right from wrong, exert caution, stop any words and deeds that are not conducive to proper handling of questions and detrimental to the stability of the region."
During his official visit to Brunei from October 9 to 10, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the signing ceremony for Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Brunei Darussalam on Maritime Cooperation, Agreement of CNOOC and Petroleum Brunei on Establishment a Joint Venture in Oilfield Services, and other documents of bilateral cooperation, together with the Brunei leader. The two sides issued Joint Statement of the People's Republic of China and Negara Brunei Darussalam.
On October 9, China and ASEAN issued in Brunei Joint Declaration in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership, reaffirming the landmark significance of the DOC in that it embodied common commitment of ASEAN member states and China, that is, promoting peace, stability and mutual trust, and resolving the South China Sea dispute peacefully in accordance with the principles of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other generally recognized international laws.
On October 11, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at the eighth East Asia Summit and pointed out that "Regarding the issue of the South China Sea, there are two points of focus. One is the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has never seen any problems and will never see any in the future... The other is territorial disputes over some islands and reefs. More than 10 years ago, China and ASEAN member states signed the DOC, which stipulates that the relevant disputes should be resolved peacefully through consultations and negotiations between the countries directly concerned. The unilateral action of submitting bilateral dispute to international arbitration is against both the principle and spirit of the DOC. China will continue to work with ASEAN member states to fully and effectively implement the DOC and will work for positive and steady progress in the consultations on a COC on the basis of consensus building."
From October 13 to 14, Premier Li Keqiang made a visit to Vietnam and reached an important consensus with the Vietnamese leader on comprehensive development of China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership after in-depth exchanged views. The two sides agreed that efforts should be continued to promote political trust, expand consensus and control and reduce the divergences between the two countries so as to maintain the peace and stability in the South China Sea. The two sides agreed to actively promote joint maritime development and establish a working group of consultation toward this end. At the same time, efforts of the Working Group for the Beibu Bay should be redoubled for real progress in the joint maritime development, so as to accumulate experience for exploring joint maritime development over a wider range.
On November 19, the 2nd meeting of the China-Malaysia Joint Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee was held in Kuala Lumpur. Chen Lianzeng, deputy administrator of the State Oceanic Administration of China, attended the meeting. The two sides reached five consensuses on promoting practical cooperation in marine science and technology.
On November 26, China's first aircraft carrier "Liaoning" set sail from a military harbor in Qingdao for the South China Sea, under the escort of the naval missile destroyers of Shenyang and Shijiazhuang and missile frigates of Yantai and Weifang. It was scheduled to carry out scientific research and military training activities in the adjoining waters.
On December 6, Liu Zhenmin, head of the Chinese government delegation and Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ho Xuan Son, leader of the Vietnamese government delegation and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, held in Hanoi a plenary session of border negotiating delegations from the two countries.
On December 17, John Kerry the US Secretary of State announced that the United States would provide the Philippines with USD 40 million over the next three years to strengthen its "maritime security" and enhance its early warning capabilities.
On January 1, Amended Measures of Hainan Province on the Implementation of the Fisheries Law of People's Republic of China became effective, stipulating that foreign nationals and fishing vessels entering the waters under the jurisdiction of Hainan Province for fishing operations and fishery resource investigation shall abide by the relevant laws, regulations and provisions of China concerning fishery, environmental protection and exit and entry management, as well as relevant regulations of Hainan Province.
On February 5, Daniel Russell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US State Department said in a congressional hearing that the declaration of China on its rights and interests in the South China Sea based on "the nine-dotted line" was inconsistent with the principles of international law and that it should clarify its statement or adjust its position.
On February 19, the fifth round of negotiation of the China-Vietnam Experts' Working Group for Maritime Cooperation in Low Sensitive Areas was held in Hanoi. The two sides reached an agreement on comprehensive cooperative study of the oceanic and Dao environment in the Beibu Bay between China and Vietnam, and negotiations for the implementation plan of comparative studies of the depositional evolution of the Yangtze River Delta and Honghe River Delta during the Holocene.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Malaysia lost contact with air traffic control at the radar coverage border between Malaysia and Vietnam. Search and rescue efforts were launched by China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and other countries over the course of several months in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.
On March 19, Charles José, the new spokesman of the Philippine Foreign Ministry, said that Ren'ai Jiao was located within the 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines according to stipulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and only 100 miles (about 161 kilometers) from the Palawan coastline, and therefore, the Philippines had exclusive sovereignty over it.
On March 24, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed in meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Hague that the United States should take an objective and fair position on the issue of the East China Sea and the South China Sea issue should, distinguish between right and wrong, and make greater efforts to help solve the problem properly and ease the tension.
On March 30, the Philippines formally filed a petition to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, requesting it to exercise arbitration on "Chinese infringement of Philippine territorial sovereignty."
On March 31, warships from Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Australia and the Philippines started the large-scale multinational exercise codenamed "COMODO" in the South China Sea, including maritime search and rescue and evacuation of tsunami victims.
On April 21, the 7th Senior Official Meeting on the implementation of the DOC was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The attending parties exchanged views on how to further enhance the efficiency of implementing the DOC and expand pragmatic maritime cooperation, and explored ways to promote the implementation of maritime cooperation projects and the establishment of technical committees for "navigation safety and rescue", "combating transnational maritime crimes" and "marine scientific research and environmental protection." Regarding negotiations on the DOC, the meeting offered guiding opinions for the work of the Joint Working Group, believing that it should be actively and steadily promoted in a gradual and progressive manner.
On April 28, the United States and the Philippines signed a 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, according to which the Philippines would allow the US military to build new military facilities or upgrade existing infrastructure in the designated areas, and to deploy preparatory weapons and equipment, supplies and humanitarian relief supplies in the Philippines.
From May 2 to July 15, the Chinese rig platform "Ocean Oil 981" launched oil and gas exploration activities in the waters of Xisha Qundao. During this period, Vietnam unscrupulously interfered with its operations, dispatching a large number of ships, including armed vessels, to attack Chinese vessels, and "frogman" and other underwater agents to place fishing nets, floating and other obstacles.
On May 3, the Philippine Air Force airdropped supplies to marines on a shabby landing craft on Ren'ai Jiao.
From May 5 to 16, more than 3,000 Philippine officers and soldiers and 2,500 US officers and soldiers staged a large-scale exercise code-named "Balikatan" (meaning "shoulder to shoulder") on the land and in the seas near the South China Sea.
On May 6, the Philippine Coast Guard intercepted and seized a Chinese fishing vessel with 11 Chinese fishermen in waters near Banyue Jiao in Nansha Qundao and escorted it to the port city of Puerto Princesa of Palawan Province in southern Philippines.
On May 22, China sent a note to the UN secretary-general regarding the illegal interference with the normal drilling operations of Chinese enterprises in the waters of Xisha Qundao and submitted a position paper.
On May 23, the Philippines and Indonesia signed a delimitation agreement for exclusive economic zones in the Mindanao Sea and the Celebes Sea after negotiations over 20 years.
On May 26, Reuters reported that Taiwan was spending USD 100 million in building a port on Taiping Dao.
On June 4, the website of the British journal Jane's Defense Weekly reported that the Vietnamese Congress approved a plan of 16 trillion Vietnamese Dong (about USD 747 million) for improving its maritime surveillance and defense capabilities.
On June, 9 Wang Min, Chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations once again sent a note to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Vietnam's illegal and forceful interference with its Zhongjiannan Project, and submitted its position paper The Operation of the HYSY 981 Drilling Rig: Vietnam's Provocation and China's Position and requested the Secretary-General to distribute China's position paper to all UN members as a UN General Assembly document.
On June 13, the 24th meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Wang Min, head of the Chinese delegation and permanent representative of China to the United Nations, made clear the facts and refuted the Vietnamese and Philippine officials' unjustified accusations on the South China Sea issue.
On June 18, State Councilor of China Yang Jiechi visited Vietnam and met respectively with Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and Nguyen Tan Dung, the Vietnamese Prime Minister, and held talks with Phạm Bình Minh, the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
On June 19, Manila Standard Today the Philippines newspaper carried a report saying that the Philippines were stepping up maintenance of sovereignty claims over disputed territory in "Kalayaan Islands", with plans to build a road leading to the airport runway on Pagasa Dao (Editor's Note: Zhongye Dao of China).
On June 19-21, Trương Tấn Sang the Vietnamese President paid a state visit to China, issued China-Vietnam Joint Statement, and proposed that regular communication and dialogue be maintained between leaders of the two countries and the two parties for maritime issues, to promote and guide their proper settlement, from strategic height and with consideration for the overall situation of bilateral relations.
On June 24, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with the Philippine President Aquino in Tokyo. The two sides agreed to strengthen security cooperation in the South China Sea issue and Shinzo Abe decided to provide 10 new maritime patrol vessels to the Philippines.
From July 9 to 10, the sixth round of consultation of the Sino-Vietnam Experts' Working Group for Maritime Cooperation in Low Sensitive Areas was held in Beijing. China and Vietnam agreed to implement the consensus of the leaders of the two countries and the spirit of Agreement on Basic Principles Concerning Guidance for the Resolution of Sino-Vietnamese South China Sea Issues and continue to actively promote cooperation in low-sensitive areas.
On August 1, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced in Hanoi that Japan had decide to provide Vietnam with six fishing vessels, with an aggregated value of 500 million yen (about RMB 30 million yuan) after talks with Phạm Bình Minh, the Vietnamese Vice Premier and Foreign Minister, so as to promote cooperation in maritime security between the two countries.
On August 4, the Office of Beacons for Xisha Qundao, Navigation Security Center, Ministry of Transport of China conducted a field survey and site selection for construction of lighthouses (bases) on Beijiao Jiao, Lingyang Jiao (Kuangzai Sandbank), Jinqing Dao, Nansha Sandbank, and Gaojian Rock.
On August 8, the series of foreign ministers' meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) were held in Naypyidaw, capital of Myanmar. The Philippines put forward the "three-step" action plan for solving the issue of the South China Sea: First, all activities that tend to intensify tension in the South China Sea should be suspended in the short run; Second, the DOC should be comprehensively and effectively implemented and a COC be formulated as soon as possible in the middle run; Third, all disputes shall be finally settled via the settlement mechanism in accordance with international laws.
On August 9, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the press conference after attending the China-ASEAN (10+1) Foreign Ministers' Meeting that China favored and advocated a "dual-track approach" to tackle the South China Sea issue, that is, peaceful settlement of disputes between countries through friendly consultations and negotiations, and joint efforts for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea by China and ASEAN member states.
On August 10, the ASEAN foreign ministers expressed their concern over the rising tensions in the South China Sea and called for stepped-up dialogues with China.
On August 18, US P-8A "Poseidon" maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft entered the exclusive economic zone of China in the South China Sea, and China immediately dispatched J-11 fighter jets for interception.
On August 26, Lê Hồng Anh, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam, visited China as Special Envoy of Nguyễn Phú Trọng, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, reaching a three-point consensus with China on party-state relations, management of maritime disputes and deepening bilateral exchanges and cooperation.
On September 3, Singapore and Indonesia signed an agreement for delimitation of the seas to the east of the Singapore Strait.
On September 7, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held the second round of China-Australia diplomatic and strategic dialogue in Sydney. Wang Yi said that in handling the South China Sea issue, emphasis should be placed on "four respects": First, respect the historical facts; second, respect international laws and regulations; third, respect the direct dialogue and consultation among all the parties; fourth, respect the jointly efforts of China and ASEAN in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.
On September 15, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee visited Vietnam and co-chaired the signing of seven agreements together with Vietnamese President Trương Tấn Sang, including one for expanding oil exploitation cooperation in the South China Sea, and outsourcing of another two oil and gas fields in the South China Sea to Indian companies.
On September 30, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a Joint Statement between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India after meeting with US President Obama at the White House, saying that "leaders of the two countries had expressed concerns for intensified tensions in the disputes over territorial seas and reiterated the importance of maintaining maritime security and guaranteeing freedom of navigation at sea and in the air, especially in the South China Sea."
On October 2, the US government announced that it would partially lift the ban on sale of weapons of mass destruction to Vietnam, to help it strengthen maritime security, indicating that the United States was about to export weapons of mass destruction to Vietnam nearly 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.
From October 9 to October 10, the Sino-Vietnamese Working Group for Negotiations on Joint Maritime Development held the third round of consultations in Nanning, Guangxi. The two sides agreed to follow the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and continue to join hands to promote joint maritime development.
From October 13 to 15, Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The two sides issued the Joint Statement on Comprehensively Deepening Strategic Cooperation in the New Era in Hanoi. With regard to maritime cooperation, the two sides agreed to abide by the consensus reached by the leaders of the two parties and the two countries, conscientiously implement the Agreement on Basic Principles Concerning Guidance for the Resolution of Sino-Vietnamese South China Sea Issues, and step up the work of the Working Group for Offshore Areas beyond the Beibu Bay and the Sino-Vietnam Experts' Working Group for Maritime Cooperation in Low Sensitive Areas, effectively control the maritime differences and refrain from actions that might aggravate and complicate the disputes, so as to maintain the overall situation of China-Vietnamese relations, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.
On October 27, the Seventh Meeting of the Sino-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation was held in Hanoi. The two sides agreed to properly handle maritime issues in accordance with the relevant bilateral agreements and consensus and make good use of the China-Vietnamese inter-governmental boundary negotiation mechanism to seek for fundamental and lasting solutions acceptable to both sides, and control maritime divergences and refrain from actions that might aggravate and complicate the disputes, so as to maintain the overall situation of China-Vietnamese relations, as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.
On October 27, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his visit to India. India promised to provide Vietnam with 100 million US dollars in military procurement loans to help it purchase four patrol boats from India.
From October 28 to 29, the eighth meeting of senior officials for the implementation of the DOC was held in Bangkok, Thailand. At the meeting, the attending parties confirmed the "dual-track approach" for handling the South China Sea issue, and the negotiation mode of "seeking consensus", "in an order of difficulty" and "agreement via negotiations" for an earlier agreement on a COC. The parties reached an initial consensus on the content of "early harvest."
On November 13, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the Ninth East Asia Summit that China and ASEAN member states had clarified the "dual-track approach" for addressing the issue of the South China Sea, agreed to actively carry out consultations for earlier agreement on a COC on the basis of consensus-building negotiations, and achieved initial success. The Chinese side proposed that all countries concerned actively explore joint development and effectively manage differences.
On November 13, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the 17th China-ASEAN Meeting that conscientious efforts should be made to create new highlights for China-ASEAN maritime cooperation and proposed a number of marine cooperation projects.
On November 24, the Palawan District Court of the Philippines judged the 9 illegally detained Chinese fishermen guilty, requesting each to pay over USD 100,000 for "violation of Philippine fishery law", and 12 million pesos (USD 2,666) for capture of wild animals. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China had indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters, including Banyue reefs, and that any actions taken by the Philippines against Chinese fishermen were illegal and invalid.
On December 5, the US State Department released the report China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea, saying that China's marine claims in the South China Sea was neither clear nor consistent. In this regard, Hong Lei, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, said that China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and the adjacent waters. China's sovereignty and relevant claims of rights in the South China Sea had been gradually formed in the long historical course and upheld by successive Chinese governments.
On December 7, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China was authorized to issue the Position Paper of the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of the Philippines, reiterating China's solemn position of not accepting or recognizing it.
From December 10 to 12, the sixth round of consultation of the China-Vietnam Working Group for Sea Waters out of the Mouth of the Beibu Bay was held in Beijing. The two sides reaffirmed that efforts will be made to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries on steadily advancing the delimitation negotiations on the maritime boundary outside the mouth of the Beibu Bay and actively promote cooperation for joint development in this area.
On December 11, "Đinh Tiên Hoàng" the Vietnamese frigate confronted a 053-type frigate of China while cruising in the vicinity of China's Chigua Jiao.
On January 1, "Offshore Oil 981" the Chinese rig arrived in Singapore from Sanya, and was scheduled to arrive in the Indian Ocean for operations in mid-January.
On March 20, Hong Lei the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting the rallying call of the commander of the United States Seventh Fleet for ASEAN member states to jointly patrol the South China Sea that the statement of the US side was no help to the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and that China hoped the United States could abide by its promise of no stand on territorial sovereignty issues and stop the publication of irresponsible remarks.
On May 4, Hua Chunying the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting the Philippine accusation of Chinese civil engineering activities on islands and reefs of Nansha Qundao constituting violation of the DOC that Chinese requested the Philippines to immediately stop the malicious speculation and provocation, and stop going against China and the majority of ASEAN member states, so as to safeguard the peace and stability in the South China Sea.
On May 11, Catapang, the Chief of Staff of Philippine Armed Forces, landed with hordes of journalists on Zhongye Dao, a Dao occupied by the Philippines in Nansha Qundao.
On May 22, Hong Lei the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said in commenting on reconnaissance operations by the US anti-submarine spy craft near the islands and reefs of Nansha Qundao that the move constituted a potential threat to the security of the Chinese reefs, and might easily lead to miscalculation. The Chinese side hereby expressed strong dissatisfaction and requested the United States to refrain from taking any risky and provocative actions.
On May 26, Ma Ying-jeou, leader of the Taiwan region put forward the "South China Sea Peace Initiative" at the opening ceremony of the "2015 ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum", hoping that the relevant countries could jointly safeguard the freedom and safety of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea region, and that codes of conduct for marine and resource cooperation mechanisms be established for comprehensive planning and gradual development of the resources of the South China Sea.
On May 30, US Defense Secretary Carter said that the unprecedented scale and speed of China's reclamation in the South China Sea constituted violation of international standards. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China opposed the inappropriate remarks of the United States intending to fomenting dissension and criticized China's normal and justified construction activities on islands and reefs.
On June 4, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with the Philippine President Aquino. The two sides expressed serious concern over China's attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the South China Sea and requested China to exercise restraint and launch negotiations for consensus-building on strengthening security dialogues and signing agreements for defense equipment and technology transfer. After the talks, the two heads of state issued a joint declaration containing the above-mentioned content.
On June 16,the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China announced that China's reclamation would be completed in the near future for construction work on some of the islands and reefs of Nansha Qundao, and that after reclamation, necessary facilities for military defense and various civil needs would be constructed in the following phase.
On October 9, China's Ministry of Transport held an illumination ceremony for the lighthouses on Huayang Jiao and Chigua Jiao in the South China Sea, announcing that the two large-scale multi-functional lighthouses were officially put into use.
On October 27, the U.S. Navy sent a destroyer within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea, causing strong protests from China.
On October 29, the Arbitral Tribunal adjudicated the jurisdiction and admissibility of the arbitration initiated by the Philippines for disputes in the South China Sea, saying that hearing would be held later on.
On November 22, Premier of China Li Keqiang proposed the "five-point initiative" at the East Asia Summit for settling the issue of the South China Sea.
On December 10, two US B-52 strategic bombers entered the airspace of the relevant islands and reefs of Chinese Nansha Qundao and the adjacent islands and reefs without authorization, and the Chinese defensive troops kept a close watch and expulsed them.
On December 12, the South China Sea was first mentioned in the joint statement issued by India and Japan.
On December 26, 47 Philippine youths landed on Zhongye Dao in the so-called "Sailing to the South China Sea," incurring serious protests from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.