Beijing: Taking strong exception to US
navy`s proactive presence in the oil rich South China Sea,
China which is grappling to resolve maritime disputes with
several ASEAN countries today asked it to stay out of the
"It`s not a proper time for the US to conduct military
drills in the region with the Philippines and Vietnam," Chen
Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People`s
Liberation Army (PLA) said.
Chen made direct reference to US navy`s recent war
games with the militaries of the two countries which raised
strong objections to China`s claims of sovereignty over the
oil rich disputed islands.
The US should restrain from engaging in disputes over
the South China Sea, Chen told media here after his talks with
US counterpart Mike Mullen.
China subsequently engaged with Vietnam and
Philippines to scale down the tensions by promising to seek
Chen`s comments came as Mullen chairman of the
United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, asserted that US is a
Pacific power and would remain so.
Mullen in his address to the Renmin University
yesterday has declared that Washington`s enduring presence in
the Asia-Pacific Region is important and it will continue to
"This means China has to deal with the reality of
growing US involvement in the region in the long run.
Both sides want to avoid confrontation. They believe that
military to military relations are in the interests of
everybody," Chinese state run CCTV reported today.
The oil-and gas-rich islands in South China Sea are
claimed by several southeast Asian states, including the
Philippines and Vietnam.