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China asks US not to create tension in South China Sea
January 31, 2015, 5:57 am

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea [Xinhua]

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea [Xinhua]

Days after the US said it would welcome Japanese drills in the controversial waters China hit back saying other countries must not “create dissension” and “tension” in the South China Sea area.

China has said earlier it is willing to listen to suggestions from its maritime neighbors but did not want to impede development in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Friday said at a regular news briefing that “countries outside this region should respect efforts made by countries in the region to maintain peace and stability.”

Her comment came amid a senior US Navy officer saying Washington would welcome an extension of Japanese air patrols into the south China Sea as a counterweight to Chinese vessels.

China has reiterated its position of not participating in the South China Sea arbitration process initiated by Philippines at a Hague-based Tribunal in a position paper published by the Foreign Ministry last month.

China, which claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, has said the “Tribunal has no jurisdiction in the arbitration”.

“The situation in the South China Sea is stable. China and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have kept a good-neighborly relationship,” Chinese spokesperson Hua said on Friday.

“We have the will and ability to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region,” she added.

Philippine had file a complaint with the Arbitral Tribunal questioning the validity of China’s “nine-dash” territorial claim, a demarcation on official Chinese maps that envelops virtually the entire South China Sea.

According to official Chinese data, the South China Sea covers 3.55 million square km.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations lay contesting claims to these waters.

China exercises jurisdiction over about 2 million square km of the maritime territory.

China has also cast aspersions on US moves to “provoke” tension by supporting its regional allies, Vietnam and the Philippines. Earlier in October, Washington partially lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move intended to bolster Hanoi’s confidence in its dealings with China.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials are preparing for the upcoming RIC (Russia, India, China) Foreign Ministers meet in Beijing on Monday.

The meet comes close on the heels of a much-hyped Obama visit to India. Chinese state media has cautioned India about US President Barack Obama’s strategy to “split” India’s relations with both China and Russia.

“Obama’s strategy is quite clear. He wants to split the relations between China and India, as well as India and Russia, in an effort to fulfil his strategy of a ‘re-balance’ in Asia,” state-run Global Times said on Wednesday.



TBP and Agencies

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