China hits back at US over South China Sea

China on Saturday attacked US criticism of its decision to set up a new military garrison in the South China Sea, saying it sent the "wrong signal" and threatened peace in the hotly disputed waters.

Washington on Friday accused Beijing of raising tensions in the region after it announced last week the establishment of the tiny city of Sansha and a garrison on an island in the disputed Paracel chain.

The move has infuriated Vietnam and the Philippines who accuse Beijing of stepping up harassment at sea.

But China's foreign ministry reacted angrily to the US statement, voicing its "strong dissatisfaction and opposition", the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the US remarks sent "a seriously wrong signal, which is not conducive to the efforts safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea and the Asia Pacific region".

The establishment of Sansha was "completely within China's sovereignty", he said.

And he accused the US of "selective blindness" as "certain countries" escalated disputes by opening oil and gas blocks, threatening Chinese fishermen, and illegally appropriating territory.

The Philippines recently offered oil and gas exploration contracts in a disputed area of the South China Sea off the coast of its western island of Palawan.

It also entered into a tense stand-off over the Scarborough Shoal in April when Chinese patrol vessels blocked the Philippine Navy from arresting Chinese fishermen.

Vietnam attracted China's ire in June after it adopted a law that places the Spratly islands, under Hanoi's sovereignty. Both countries claim the islands as their own.

China says it controls much of the sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan all claim portions.

US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement Friday they were "concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely".

The establishment of the garrison and Sansha "runs counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region," he added.

And in a reference to what he said was "confrontational rhetoric" and incidents at sea, he said: "The United States urges all parties to take steps to lower tensions."

Also on Saturday, a commentary on Xinhua attacked the US accusations as "groundless and irresponsible" and urged Washington to "draw back its meddling hand from the South China Sea disputes".

The United States has rallied behind Southeast Asian nations, expanding military ties with the Philippines and Vietnam. In April, the first of 2,500 US Marines touched down in Australia in a further show of US power in Asia.

The US Senate approved a resolution late Thursday that "strongly urges" all regional nations to exercise self-restraint and to refrain from permanently inhabiting points in the South China Sea until a code of conduct is reached.

The resolution, sponsored by senators from both major parties, declared that the United States was committed "to assist the nations of Southeast Asia to remain strong and independent".

During a 2010 visit to Vietnam, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the United States had a national interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, through which half the world's cargo passes.

The State Department statement on Friday reiterated that the United States has an interest in stability and "unimpeded lawful commerce" in the South China Sea but that Washington does not take a position on rival claims.

Southeast Asian nations faced deep divisions last month during annual talks in Cambodia. That prevented them from issuing the customary joint communique and held up progress on reaching a code of conduct with China.

The code would set rules to reduce the chances of a dispute over fishing, shipping rights or oil and gas exploration tipping into armed conflict.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options