Foreign and Military Affairs

Outsiders should 'stay out' of dispute

Updated: 2011-06-15 07:15

By Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China on Tuesday urged outside powers to respect the efforts of parties in dispute over the South China Sea to resolve the issue through direct talks.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday his country needed help from the United States in its dispute with China.

US Senator Jim Webb on Monday called for the US to condemn China over disputes in the South China Sea with its neighbors.

China is consistently devoted to a peaceful solution through bilateral talks with relevant nations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news conference in response to concerns over the situation in the area.

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Vietnam, which is directly involved in the South China Sea dispute, held that there should be no interference from a third party, Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh said on June 3 at a regional security dialogue in Singapore.

Vietnam on Monday staged a live-fire naval drill in the waters of the South China Sea.

Besides China and Vietnam, the Philippines also has overlapping claims to sections of the South China Sea. The disputes were aggravated last year when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed "national interests" in the sea.

Hong added that countries in the region should do more for peace and stability, rather than resorting to the use of force, or threatening force.

"This is also what we agreed in 2002," he said, adding that China was willing to hold direct bilateral negotiations with other nations embroiled in the disputes based on the 2002 agreement.

China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea on Nov 4, 2002, agreeing on "favorable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution to differences and disputes among countries concerned".

"The recent situation has been caused by some nations' unilateral moves and irresponsible statements, which could make the issue complicated," Hong said, adding that China is defending its own rights, and is not violating the rights of other nations.

AFP contributed to this story.


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