China urges US not to interfere in South China Sea

A photo from July 15, 2014, shows Chinese coastguard ships in the South China Sea.
A photo from July 15, 2014, shows Chinese coastguard ships in the South China Sea.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China reiterated its grave concern on Tuesday (Oct 26) over the collision of a United States Navy submarine with an unknown object in the South China Sea, and urged Washington to release more information about the incident and stop the militarisation of the area.

It has been more than three weeks since the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine, had an underwater collision in the South China Sea, yet Washington has remained tight-lipped about the incident, Beijing said.

US military website, The Drive, said it had confirmed that the USS Connecticut is still in port in Guam.

China has repeatedly demanded the US make clarifications about the incident, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news conference on Tuesday (Oct 26) in Beijing.

However, the US military has so far only procrastinated by releasing a brief and vague statement, said Mr Zhao.

"Such an irresponsible practice gives regional countries and the international community every reason to question the truth of the incident and the intention of the US," he said.

"It is justified for China and other coastal states to demand the US to answer the following question: What was the USS Connecticut up to in the South China Sea this time? What did it hit? Why would that happen? Was there a nuclear leak with environmental risks?" Mr Zhao said.

The US should give a detailed explanation in response to the concerns and doubts of the regional countries and the international community, he added.

The US has frequently sent a large number of military vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to flex its muscles, which undermined freedom of navigation in the area and threatened the sovereignty and security of regional countries including China, Mr Zhao said.

Such practices also posed serious threats to regional peace and stability, he added, stressing that the South China Sea is not a hunting ground for the US to pursue its geopolitical interests.

Washington is the major force in the militarisation of the South China Sea, he said, urging the US to correct its mistakes and play a constructive role in upholding peace and stability in the area.