China hopes Britain doesn't take sides, respects South China Sea sovereignty

Beijing expressed anger after a British Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea late last month, saying Britain was engaged in "provocation" and that it had lodged a strong complaint.

China hopes Britain doesn't take sides, respects South China Sea sovereignty

BEIJING: China hopes that Britain can stand by its position of not taking sides in the South China Sea and earnestly respect China`s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese government`s top diplomat told Britain`s foreign minister.

Beijing expressed anger after a British Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea late last month, saying Britain was engaged in "provocation" and that it had lodged a strong complaint.

China also warned that ties were at risk after the naval operation.

Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi met British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in New York on Monday and expressed China`s "stern position" on the South China Sea, China`s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

China "hopes that Britain will truly implement its position of not taking sides in the South China Sea issue, earnestly respect China`s sovereignty and territorial integrity and not do anything to disturb mutual trust between the two countries", it cited Wang as saying.

China and Britain, which have talked of a "golden era" of relations, agreed last month to look at the possibility of reaching a "top notch" post-Brexit free trade deal that promises an important political win for the conservative British government.

China`s statement on Wang`s meeting with Hunt made no mention of Brexit or the free trade deal.