China slams G-7 for expressing concern over territorial disputes in South and East China Seas

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - China has urged the Group of Seven leading economies to "stop making irresponsible remarks" after the G-7 summit expressed concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas.

China has a dispute with Japan over small uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, while its claim to most of the South China Sea is challenged by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

In their closing communique in Italy on Saturday (May 27), G-7 leaders said they "remain concerned about the situation" in the two seas and are "strongly opposed to any unilateral actions that could increase tensions".

The text also urges "all parties to pursue demilitarisation of disputed features".

A Chinese foreign ministry statement quoted by state media on Monday (May 29) said China was "strongly dissatisfied at the G-7 summit gesticulating over the issues of the East and South China seas under the guise of international law".

Sunday's (May 28) statement by ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing hopes the G-7 and countries outside the region will "stop making irresponsible remarks and play a constructive role for regional peace and stability".

The United States has criticised China's reclamation of several reefs and islets in the South China Sea into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.

It sees the reclamation as a potential threat to freedom of navigation and overflight.