Beijing accuses US, Japan of ‘ulterior motives’ over comments on maritime disputes
China has made efforts to lower tensions in the South China Sea, and has reached consensus with Manila to handle aftermath of Hague tribunal, says foreign ministry
Beijing accused the United States and Japan of having “ulterior motives” on Sunday in its strong rebuke to remarks by the two nations defence heads over maritime disputes.
In a toughly worded statement, foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said China had made efforts to lower tensions in the South China Sea, and had reached consensus with the Philippines to properly handle the aftermath of the Hague tribunal that was requested by Manila and rejected of China’s historical claims to the resource-rich waters.
“Certain outside nations are determined to go against the trend and frequently make wrong remarks about the South China Sea disputes. They ignore facts, confuse truth and falsehood, and have ulterior motives,” Hua said.
“China resolutely opposes to this, and calls on relevant parties to stop making irresponsible remarks, and fully respect the efforts by regional nations to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea.”
China has contesting South China Sea claims with not only the Philippines but Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Beijing also has bitter exchanges with Tokyo over territorial claims in the East China Sea.
US defence secretary James Mattis said at the Asia Security Summit in Singapore on Saturday that regional stability was being undermined by Beijing’s programme of building artificial islands and military facilities in the South China Sea.
His Japanese counterpart Tomomi Inada levelled similar criticisms, saying Beijing had unilaterally altered the status quo in the East and South China seas.
A joint statement released by the US, Japan and Australia called for dialogue with China, but stressed commitment to international law and freedom of navigation.
Hua said in the statement that China respected freedom of navigation, but added that it “opposes certain nations posing threats to China’s sovereignty and security through showing off forces in the South China Sea under the pretext of navigation freedom.”
She also called on the US and Japan to respect Beijing’s stance over Taiwan, and the US to stop deploying Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system in South Korea, which China deemed as a threat to its national security.