Beijing: Outsiders should respect the rules and order set by countries in the South China Sea region in line with international law, a Chinese spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks in response to US President Barack Obama's comment about maritime disputes in the South China Sea, Xinhua news agency reported.
Speaking of the freedom of navigation frequently mentioned by the US, Hua said the US needs to clarify whether it means legitimate freedom of navigation enjoyed by all countries in the South China Sea in line with international law, or the freedom to go anywhere exclusively enjoyed by the US military planes and vessels.
"If the US means the former, China certainly supports such freedom, but if it means the latter, I believe the whole international community will disagree," Hua said.
Hua said China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have reached a series of bilateral agreements and a regional consensus on addressing disputes through negotiations and consultations and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea region.
"They have formed important bases of rules and order in the region," said Hua.
She said outsiders should respect the efforts of countries in this region to maintain regional peace and stability.
"Outsider countries should not threaten sovereignty and security of countries in the South China Sea region, undermine regional rules and order, and disrupt regional peace and stability in any form and under any excuses," said Hua.