US keen to discuss China's territorial claims at summit

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last Saturday (April 9) that the G-7 meeting should not "hype" up the South China Sea issue.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last Saturday (April 9) that the G-7 meeting should not "hype" up the South China Sea issue. PHOTO: EPA

TOKYO • The United States is keen to raise the issue of China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea at a Group of Seven (G-7) foreign ministers' meeting in Hiroshima, a move Beijing has dismissed as an attempt to "hype" up the issue.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington last Friday that the US should discuss security issues any time it meets key partners in Asia. "What we want to see happen in the South China Sea is important. It's important to the region... so I would suggest that those topics should be on the table."

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last Saturday that the G-7 meeting should not "hype" up the South China Sea issue.

While none of the six states claiming part of the region is present at the two-day meeting that began yesterday, any implied criticism would be seen in Beijing as a political move to pressure China.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2016, with the headline 'US keen to discuss China's territorial claims at summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe