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China wants Japan to stay out of South China Sea disputes

Published on May 23, 2014 6:40 PM
This picture taken from a Vietnam Coast Guard ship on May 14, 2014 shows a China Coast Guard ship (left) chasing a Vietnam Coast Guard ship near to the site of a Chinese drilling oil rig (right, background) being installed at the disputed water in the South China Sea off Vietnam's central coast. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (REUTERS) - China warned Japan on Friday to stay out of a growing dispute with its neighbours over the South China Sea, as the Philippines implicitly accused Beijing of delaying talks aimed at a solution.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei in one of Asia's most intractable disputes and a possible flashpoint. It also has a separate maritime dispute with Japan over islands in the East Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday expressed concern about regional tensions that he said were stoked by China's "unilateral drilling" after China moved a giant oil rig into disputed waters, a moved denounced by the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States.

"The relevant Japanese statement neglects reality and confuses the facts, and takes a political motive to interfere with the situation in the South China Sea for a secret purpose," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily briefing. "We require the Japanese side to consistently take realistic actions to protect the region's peace and stability."

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