BEIJING • China has said it will soon operate a fifth lighthouse in the South China Sea, as a Chinese diplomat sought to strike out a territorial dispute over the waters from a summit this week.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia on Friday and Saturday will be the first major multilateral diplomatic gathering after today's ruling by an arbitration court hearing a dispute between China and the Philippines over the area.
"The ASEM leaders summit is not a suitable place to discuss the South China Sea. There are no plans to discuss it there. And it should not be put on the agenda," said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou yesterday.
But Beijing-based diplomats say it is inevitable the dispute will be raised at the summit, which is expected to be attended by Premier Li Keqiang.
Amid the tensions, China announced on Sunday that its fifth lighthouse in the South China Sea, on Mischief Reef, is near completion.