China denounced US “provocations” and said it does not fear “trouble” over its territorial disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea, AFP reports.
“Countries outside should play a constructive role in this regard, not the other way around. The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests,” Admiral Sun Jianguo told a security summit in Singapore on Sunday.
“We do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble,” the Chinese admiral said.
Sun’s comments came after US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday warned Beijing against setting up an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the disputed South China Sea during a visit to Mongolia.
Kerry said US would consider it as a “provocative and destabilizing act” which would automatically raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically manage the territorial disputes of the South China Sea.
On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that Chinese construction on a South China Sea islet claimed by the Philippines would prompt “actions being taken” by the United States and other nations.
Sun repeated China’s pledges to seek a peaceful solution to the South China Sea disputes and accused Washington of a “Cold War” mentality.
“I reiterate that our policy on the South China Sea remains unchanged. China has wisdom and the patience to resolve the disputes through peaceful negotiations. We also believe other countries concerned have the same wisdom and the patience to walk on the path of peace along with China,” he said.
“Any countries not directly concerned are not allowed to sabotage our path of peace for selfish gains,” Sun told the annual security forum known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
‘Stop pointing fingers at China’
The Chinese foreign ministry on Saturday urged the United States and Japan to stop pointing fingers at China on the South China Sea, Xinhua reported.
“Countries from outside should honor their commitments and not make irresponsible remarks on issues involving territorial sovereignty,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing in response to remarks by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani at a security summit in Singapore.
“We have noted relevant remarks. They were mostly repeating their old tunes, which have no fact in them and are full of groundless accusations against China’s legitimate construction activities on relevant islands and reefs.” Hua said.
She added that they blamed China for the regional security issue when China is actually the victim as they sowed discord between China and other regional countries.
“China is firmly opposed to that and the Chinese delegation attending the meeting has made our position clear.” Hua stressed the following points:
First, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters, which is fully backed by historical and legal evidence. China has never acknowledged the so-called “status-quo” formed by other countries’ illegal occupation of Chinese territory, and is not going to do so.
Second, relevant construction has taken place on Chinese own territory. It went against no international law. It is the intention of some countries, who have deployed large amounts of advanced weapons and equipment to the Asia-Pacific region, that should cause alarm among regional countries.
Third, the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines is not meant to resolve disputes, but to negate China’s territorial right and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. This arbitration case severely undermines the sanctity and integrity of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), abuses and violates international law. China has already made clear non-acceptance and non-participatory position on the arbitration case.
Fourth, speaking of rules-based order, China and ASEAN countries inked the DOC back in 2002. The DOC is regional rules, which shall be abided by all parties.
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