China lashes out at G7 foreign ministries; calls for status quo in South China Seas

Beijing: On Tuesday, China lashed out at the G-7 advanced economies and asked them to focus on global economic recovery rather than hyping up issues, after the bloc strongly opposed any "coercive or provocative" actions that may fuel tensions in the disputed East and South China Seas.

"We urge the G7 member states to honour their commitment of not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Lu said that as recovery of the world economy remains weak, the G7 bloc should have focused on global economic governance and cooperation rather than hyping up the disputes.

"China's stance on the East and South China Seas are consistent and clear," he said, adding it is completely within China's sovereignty to build structures on some of its Nansha islands and reefs and that there is no problem with freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas.

The comments come in response to a statement issued by the foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US on Monday in Japan's Hiroshima city.

The G7 Ministers statement, regarded as the strongest veiled attack on China said, "We are concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and emphasise the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes".

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

"We express our strong opposition to any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions, and urge all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamation including large scale ones, building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes and to act in accordance with international law including the principles of freedoms of navigation and overflight," the grouping has said.

While China is locked in a dispute with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in the SCS, it clashed with Japan over the disputed islands in East China Sea.

The G7 ministers have also called on all states to pursue peaceful management and settlement of maritime disputes in accordance with international law and fully implement any decisions rendered by the relevant courts and tribunals which are binding on them, including as provided under UNCLOS, (UN Commission on Law of Seas).

A tribunal of the UNCLOS is currently hearing Philippines' petition, which China has boycotted stating it was politically instigated by the US.

Lu said China is committed to resolving relevant disputes immediately through negotiations in line with international law, on the basis of respecting historical facts.

He reiterated that China will neither accept nor participate in any arbitration illegally forced upon it.

"We urge the G7 member states to fully respect the efforts made by countries in the region, stop making irresponsible remarks and all irresponsible actions, and truly play a constructive role for regional peace and stability," said the spokesman.

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2016 17:31:18 IST

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