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China denies Kerry’s “provocative” comment
May 14, 2014, 6:09 am

File photo of a Marine patrol ship "Haixun 31" sails out of the Chinese port of Sanya for the South China Sea, Feb. 28, 2013 [Xinhua]

File photo of a Marine patrol ship “Haixun 31” sailing out of the Chinese port of Sanya for the South China Sea, Feb. 28, 2013 [Xinhua]

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday clarified that certain media reports on the content of a phone conversation between the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday were false.

Media reports had said Kerry accused China of making “provocative” moves in the South China Sea during a telephonic chat with Wang.

Reuters had quoted US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying Kerry objected to China’s introduction of an oil rig and several government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam.

“In fact, the US Secretary of State Kerry made no such comments during the phone conversation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was quoted by Chinese state media.

According to Hua, Kerry’s message during the conversation was that the US hopes all parties will properly handle the issue to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Wang briefed Kerry on the historical context, facts and China’s stance on issues regarding situations in the South China Sea and East China Sea, said the Chinese spokesperson.

Wang urged the US side to hold an “objective, just and fair view”, honor its commitments, and “speak and act cautiously”, so as to “avoid encouraging concerned parties to take provocative actions”.

“There is indeed a country taking provocative actions in the South China Sea, but this country is not China,” Hua said at a regular briefing earlier on Tuesday.

“We expect the United States to reflect on its acts. If it indeed expects the Pacific Ocean to be pacific, it should think what role it can play in maintaining regional peace and stability,” Hua said.

After China placed an oil rig in the disputed Xisha islands, Beijing has had an altercation with Hanoi, in which China accused the Vietnamese vessels of “rampantly ramming Chinese boats for as many as 171 times”.

China’s first deep-water drilling rig started operations in the South China Sea in 2012.

“In a long-term vision, more than 700 million tonnes of oil resources and 1.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas resources will be found in this area. There are a dozen such areas in the northern part of the South China Sea,” claims Shi Hesheng, a geological engineer with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC).

The South China Sea is estimated to have 23 billion tonnes to 30 billion tonnes of oil and 16 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Jin Jiancai, secretary-general of the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, has said earlier that metals from the deposits in the South China Sea will help China meet the increasing demand for mineral resources during its rapid economic development.

Jiaolong, a manned deep-sea submersible, is helping the country tap a treasure of iron-manganese deposits that were first discovered in the South China Sea in July last year.