Chinese foreign minister says situation in South China Sea 'stable'

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaking at the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaking at the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday (Dec 19) that the situation in the disputed South China Sea was "relatively stable" and urged countries beyond the region to help it to stay that way rather than fuelling conflict there.

China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea.

This week China's military carried out war games there, with warships, submarines and fighter jets simulating cruise missile strikes on ships, a Chinese newspaper said.

"Some countries outside of the region are concerned about this region and we totally understand that, but I think these states need to support attempts to keep this region stable rather than just aggravating tensions or playing countries off against each other," Mr Wang said during a visit to Berlin.

The US Pacific Fleet Commander has warned of a possible arms race in the South China Sea which could engulf the region, as nations become increasingly tempted to use military force to settle territorial spats.