Freedom of navigation in SCS false proposition: China

China on Thursday warned countries, which are having maritime disputes with it over the South China Sea, against seeking "private interests" under the guise of freedom of navigation in the region.

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2013, 21:58 PM IST

Beijing: China on Thursday warned countries, which are having maritime disputes with it over the South China Sea, against seeking "private interests" under the guise of freedom of navigation in the region.

The Defence Ministry said that freedom of navigation has never been affected by territorial and ocean rights disputes between the countries concerned.

"The so-called protection of freedom of navigation is in fact a false proposition," Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said when asked that the US and the Philippines have pledged to protect freedom of navigation in Southeast Asia.

"We call on the countries concerned not to seek private interests under the guise of freedom of navigation," he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Philippines is currently negotiating a framework agreement with the US that will allow greater US access to civilian and military facilities in the country to deploy aircraft, ships, troops and equipment and increase rotation of American troops there.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said controversy on the sovereignty of disputed islands will not affect relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The dispute is not between China and the ASEAN, Wang said at a press briefing following a special meeting of foreign ministers from China and ASEAN countries.

ASEAN Countries, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei question China`s claim of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea.

China and ASEAN are fully capable of safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang said, stressing that the common interests of China and ASEAN should not be affected by private interests.

One member`s opinion is not the overall stance of AESAN, he said.

The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has not been and will not be a problem, the minister said, calling on all sides to nurture peace and stability in the region.

The main topic of the meeting was strengthening China-ASEAN cooperation and trust, Wang said, adding the meeting also touched on the South China Sea.

PTI

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