G-7 should stay out of maritime rows: China

The Group of Seven countries' foreign ministers pose for a group photo session at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with viewing the Atomic Bomb Dome (Rear) in Hiroshima.
The Group of Seven countries' foreign ministers pose for a group photo session at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with viewing the Atomic Bomb Dome (Rear) in Hiroshima.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING • The Group of Seven nations should stop inflaming territorial disputes in Asian waters and focus their energy on dealing with a slumping global economy, China said, in response to G-7 calls for countries to stop land reclamation and militarisation in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with relevant moves taken by G-7," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement yesterday. "We urge G-7 members to abide by their promise of not taking sides on territorial disputes, respect the efforts by regional countries, stop all irresponsible words and actions, and make constructive contribution to regional peace and stability."

The G-7 should have focused on righting a sluggish global economy "instead of hyping up maritime issues and fuelling tensions in the region", he added.

Mr Lu's remarks were in response to G-7 foreign ministers raising concerns over tensions in the East China Sea and South China Sea, where China has been more aggressively asserting its territorial claims under President Xi Jinping. China "resolutely upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests" in the waterways.

An editorial by the official Xinhua news agency accused G-7 member Japan of trying to use the grouping to "contain China".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'G-7 should stay out of maritime rows: China'. Print Edition | Subscribe