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China hits out at US, Japan over South China Sea stand off

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, May 9, 2014 - 21:53

Beijing: China today warned of "additional measures" if the situation in the South China Sea is not deescalated and criticised the US and Japan for making "irresponsible statements" on its current stand off with Vietnam and the Philippines on the maritime dispute.

The US has made irresponsible remarks over the maritime issues in recent days, which have encouraged some countries` provocative activities, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today.

She called on the US to speak and act cautiously, stop making irresponsible remarks, and do more to safeguard regional peace and stability.

She was reacting to US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki`s remarks that Washington was opposed to provocative or unilateral actions that jeopardise peace and security in the South China Sea.

The US also criticised China on Tuesday, saying its exploration activities despite Vietnam`s opposition is "provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region".

China faced heightened tensions with Vietnam over its attempts to drill for oil in the disputed waters.
Also, China warned that it reserves the right to take further action if the Philippines failed to release its 11 fishermen detained for fishing near islands claimed by Manila.

Hua also criticised Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida`s comments that Japan regards China`s drilling operations in South China Sea waters as "provocative" to regional security, and Beijing should clarify to Vietnam and the international community the basis of its increasing maritime activities.

Relevant Japanese officials should not make comments before figuring out basic facts, she said adding, "Japan itself should respect the basic facts and international laws through concrete actions".

Hua said Japan`s aim is to take advantage of China`s troubled situation and it cannot hide its true intention of undermining peace and stability by stirring up unilateral provocations in the waters off China`s Diaoyu Islands.
"We require the Japanese side to stop any provocative words and actions," she said.

On the confrontation with Vietnam over the Chinese oil rig`s attempt to drill for oil in the disputed waters, Hua asked Vietnam to respect China`s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea and stop provocative actions.

She reiterated that the Xisha Islands, which Vietnam calls as Parcel islands, are the inherent territory of China and there are no disputes in this area.

The waters of China`s drilling operations are only 17 nautical miles from China`s Xisha Islands, she said, adding that the operations are about 150 nautical miles from Vietnam.

The operations of Chinese companies in waters off the Xisha Islands fall completely within China`s sovereignty, she said, noting that it is untenable for any country to make irresponsible remarks or impede China`s normal oil drilling in its territorial waters.

From May 3 to 7, Vietnam dispatched 36 vessels, which rammed Chinese vessels up to 171 times, she said.
It is not conducive to regional peace and stability, she said, adding that the Chinese side had to take additional security measures in response to Vietnam`s disruptions to ensure maritime operations and safety of navigation.
On Tuesday, the Philippines detained 11 Chinese fishermen and their boat near Half Moon Shoal in the South China Sea claimed by both the countries.
Hua reiterated that China has indisputable sovereign rights over the islands and the adjacent waters, including the Half Moon Shoal, where the incident occurred.

First Published: Friday, May 9, 2014 - 14:57
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