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  • Nov 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:32am
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DIPLOMACY

Beijing rejects US, Philippines suggestion it freezes South China Sea projects

Beijing dismisses pleas from US and Philippines to halt development in disputed waters amid strained ties with its Southeast Asian neighbours

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 9:09am
 

China shrugged off the United States and the Philippine's suggestion it suspend developing areas in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit that has been overshadowed by rising tensions between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbours over rival territorial claims.

In a defiant tone, an official from the Foreign Ministry branded the suggestion as "impractical" and insisted on China's right to continue its activities in the disputed waters, including building artificial islands.

"What China will do, or won't do, is determined by the Chinese government. No other people can change the stance of the Chinese government," said Yi Xianliang, the deputy director general of the ministry's department of boundary and oceanic affairs.

Yi's remarks, made at a forum held by the All-China Journalists Association, came as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is set to hold a meeting in Myanmar this week. Asean foreign ministers and counterparts from the bloc's main regional trading partners, including China, Japan and South Korea, will hold talks. A regional security dialogue will also be held, with the United States taking part.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday that Manila had won support from Vietnam, Indonesia and Brunei for an immediate moratorium on activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea and for the implementation of a code of conduct in the region.

Washington last month called for a voluntary freeze on actions that would escalate tensions in the region.

"On what capacity can Washington raise such a suggestion?" Yi asked. "The suggestion is simply not constructive and cannot be implemented." Disputes should be resolved by countries with claims to the waters, he said.

Tensions have increased between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbours, especially the Philippines and Vietnam, as China has become more assertive over its maritime claims in the region.

A series of deadly anti-China riots swept through Vietnam in May after Beijing deployed an oil rig in contested waters in the South China Sea.

China is also looking to expand its biggest installation in the Spratly Islands, on the disputed Fiery Cross Reef, into an artificial island, complete with an airstrip and port, according to mainland scholars and naval experts.

Yi said other countries with claims in the South China Sea had also carried out reclamation work and built facilities on disputed islands, including a kindergarten.

"China has the right to build facilities on Chinese territory," he said.

Additional reporting by Agence-France Presse

 

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
Look at this statement by peace-loving Xi's criminal crew: "What China will do, or won't do, is determined by the Chinese government. No other people can change the stance of the Chinese government." If one had any doubt that the truth is that the CCP is utterly bellicose, it must surely evaporate now. How can any nation go on blathering in this way and pretend to being a member of the community of nations. With such views, China, under the CCP, should be drummed right out of the UN.
ubifrancehk
Artificial islands are not entitled to Exclusive Economic Zone under UNCLOS (which China has signed and ratified - unlike the USA for once) so I don't know what they're doing. I know China does not give a damn about international law and considers the whole "East China Sea" as a domestic lake - but it is still worth mentioning it.
ubifrancehk
You seem to be very familiar with neither Chinese politics nor SCMP...
TigerJ
It takes guts to stand up to the United States... In the post-WWII era, France did it with De Gaulle. Today, China does it with Xi.
Jonathan Smith
The US should tell the Philippines to drag away it's derelict landing tank ship from the atoll which it is polluting and to tell the Filipinos to stop it's environmentally damaging activities. The Philippines should start respecting international law and stop all illegal activities.
williechow
"In a defiant tone, an official from the Foreign Ministry branded the suggestion as "impractical" and insisted on China's right to continue its activities in the disputed waters, including building artificial islands."
What made it a defiant tone? SCMP simply cannot help but infuse negative tone on matters related to China in its news reporting.
jiawang@adb.org
China should not be afraid to go to war with the Philippines, Japan, and the US.
ejmciii
Did anyone think these thieves were really going to try to defuse tensions. I did not. Hopefully the other nations in the region finally are going to realize that there is no negotiating with the Communist Chinese. You can either give in to their position or they will take it by force. The only viable answer is to meet their force with force.

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