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China: ‘Third parties’ complicate South China issues
September 9, 2016, 3:37 am

Beijing called a recent international tribunal ruling on South China Sea 'a farce' [Xinhua]

Beijing called a recent international tribunal ruling on South China Sea ‘a farce’ [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called on neighboring countries to concentrate efforts to resolve conflict and dispute through direct negotiation and consultation.

During his speech at the 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos late on Thursday, Li said that the best formula for peaceful resolution of South China Sea issues was through last year’s Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) agreed by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“China and ASEAN nations have the full wisdom and ability to manage the South China Sea issue,” Li said.

He criticized efforts to exaggerate and overstate differences which lead to discord, and in a veiled criticism of the US “interference” in the South China Sea dispute with Philippines, said outside involvement would complicate issues.

His comments appeared to echo earlier criticism voiced by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin of the ruling of international court of arbitration in the Hague that China’s “historic” claims to most of the South China Sea were invalid.

China called the ruling a “farce” after the ruling in July. At the time, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would not accept any proposition or action based on the ruling issued unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government.

On Thursday, Liu said that “it is not appropriate for some countries outside the region to push the so-called South China Sea ‘arbitration’ at the East Asia Summit.

Earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry lambasted US President Barack Obama over comments he made in Vientiane warning Beijing that it could not ignore the Hague tribunal’s ruling on the dispute.

“The landmark arbitration ruling in July, which is binding, helped to clarify maritime rights in the region,” Obama told Southeast Asian leaders the Summit.

Beijing claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, a maritime region believed to hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and through which roughly $4.5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year. In addition to Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have contesting claims on these waters.

Russia has backed Beijing’s position that direct talks should take place between the affected parties and the region should guard against “external interference“.

Read more: Manila opts for South China Sea talks with China

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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