China 'strongly dissatisfied' with G-7 statement on maritime disputes

(From left) United States President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in a discussion during the G7 Summit in Italy.
(From left) United States President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in a discussion during the G7 Summit in Italy.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China is "strongly dissatisfied" with the mention of the East China Sea and South China Sea issues in a Group of Seven (G-7) statement, and the G-7 allies should stop making irresponsible remarks, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

China is committed to properly resolving disputes with all nations involved through negotiations while maintaining peace and stability in the East China Sea and South China Sea, said spokesman Lu Kang in a statement yesterday.

China hopes that the G-7 and other nations will refrain from taking positions, fully respect the efforts of countries in the region in handling the disputes, and stop making irresponsible remarks, said Mr Lu.

In their communique last Saturday, G-7 leaders said they were concerned by the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea. They also called for a demilitarisation of "disputed features".

China has a dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

Beijing's extensive claims to the South China Sea are also challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.

The United States has criticised China's construction of islands and build-up of military sites in the South China Sea, concerned that they could be used to restrict free movement and broaden Beijing's strategic reach.

Last week, a US Navy warship conducted a so-called freedom-of-navigation drill near Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands. The manoeuvre - the first under President Donald Trump's administration - prompted an angry response from Beijing.

The G-7 consists of the US, France, Canada, Germany, Britain, Italy and Japan.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'China 'strongly dissatisfied' with G-7 statement on maritime disputes'. Print Edition | Subscribe