China warns G7: Stop hype on sea dispute
China has warned Japan, host of the Group of Seven (G7) summit, to stop hyping the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, saying the arbitration case brought by the Philippines is the root of the instability in the region.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, welcomed the position of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that favored China’s position in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
SCO groups China, Russia and its former satellite states Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that opposes influence of liberal democracy through military cooperation.
Hua said the SCO was an important regional organization and making contributions to maintaining and safeguarding regional peace, security and stability.
PH arbitration case
“At present, the South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines is the prominent factor disrupting peace and stability in the South China Sea and regional maritime order,” Hua told a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.
A copy of the transcript of the press briefing was posted on the foreign ministry’s website.
Hua said the Philippines’ “arbitration case ignores the basic facts of the South China Sea issue and undermines the rule of law under the cloak of ostensibly championing it.”
China has ignored the proceedings in the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
But the tribunal has proceeded to hear the case, and is expected to hand down a ruling in coming weeks.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed a G7 summit declaration on pursuing “rule of law” in an effort to raise concerns about China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea.
“Japan has been hyping up the South China Sea issue over and over again, sparing no effort to instigate disturbance and drive a wedge among countries,” Hua said, urging the G7 leaders to focus on global economic governance and cooperation.
She said Japan’s move to spouse a G7 declaration on the South China Sea dispute reflects “selfish calculations and plays petty tricks under the pretext of the G7 summit.”
“What Japan is up to does no good to G7 nor peace and stability in the South China Sea. It is nothing but another clumsy show put on by Japan. We believe we all have a clear mind on this,” she said.
The Philippines’ arbitration case that seeks to nullify China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea has gained the support of the G7—the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan—Australia and the European Union.
G7 leaders’ declaration
The G7 summit closed on Saturday with a declaration from the seven leaders calling for respect for the use of “judicial means”—a reference to the Philippine arbitration case—in resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The leaders also said claimants should refrain from “unilateral actions that could increase tensions” while also avoiding “force or coercion in trying to drive their claims,” a reference to China’s island-building in the South China Sea and use of military vessels to drive away fishermen from their traditional fishing grounds.