China summons G-7 envoys over statement

The Group of Seven countries' foreign ministers pose for a group photo with children at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, on April 11, 2016.
The Group of Seven countries' foreign ministers pose for a group photo with children at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, on April 11, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING • Beijing has summoned top diplomatic representatives from the Group of Seven (G-7) nations to express anger at their statement on the South China Sea, China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

A two-day meeting of G-7 foreign ministers - a grouping composed of the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Britain, Italy and Japan - in the Japanese city of Hiroshima issued a joint statement this week saying: "We are concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and emphasise the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes."

The G-7 also urged "all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamations" and "building of outposts... for military purposes".

The G-7 statement did not name China, but Beijing lays claim to almost all of the South China Sea, despite conflicting partial claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.

"A senior official of one of the G-7 countries mentioned that China needs to heed the voice of G-7," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing in a comment that seemed to be aimed at Japan, which has its own dispute with Beijing in the East China Sea over uninhabited islands that it administers.

ENVOYS TOLD OF CHINA'S STAND

So yes, we called in envoys from the relevant countries, solemnly expressing China's position on this matter... (The G-7 ministers) are just trying to amuse themselves by issuing such statements.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN LU KANG, addressing the G-7 issue at a news briefing

Mr Lu said China had thought the G-7 meeting would not really have anything to do with China.

Once the statement came out, China decided there were certain "incorrect and mistaken" parts in it, Mr Lu said, so China had to make its position clear.

"So yes, we called in envoys from the relevant countries, solemnly expressing China's position on this matter," he added.

The G-7 ministers, he added, "are just trying to amuse themselves by issuing such statements."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2016, with the headline 'China summons G-7 envoys over statement'. Print Edition | Subscribe