Beijing blasts ‘irresponsible’ US provocation after Washington rejects China’s ‘unlawful’ maritime claims in the South China Sea
China has hit back immediately at US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after he said Washington firmly stands with other southeast Asian nations and not China in ongoing disputes over territory in the contested South China Sea.
Speaking at a daily briefing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing that the US was extremely “irresponsible” for involving itself in disputes relating to the overlapping claims of multiple nations in the South China Sea.
“It is extremely irresponsible of the US to deliberately provoke controversy over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea, [and to] sow discord among China and ASEAN countries,” he stated.
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Zhao was responding to earlier comments made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who’d said on Wednesday that the US would stand alongside Southeast Asian nations facing up to Chinese “coercion” and would back them in their claims to South China Sea territory against Beijing.
The secretary of state described China’s claims, which are defined by its unilaterally declared nine-dash line, as “unlawful”. Beijing’s territorial claims to most of the South China Sea were thrown out five years ago by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, but the ruling has been ignored by China, which says it has a historic right to the waters. The potentially resource-rich waters contain hundreds of islands and reefs that are contested by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Beijing’s recent assertiveness in implementing its so-called nine-dash line has seen relations worsen with its neighbors, notably the Philippines. Manila has been angered by repetitive Chinese incursions into waters and reefs situated within its exclusive economic zone.
While China has repeatedly criticized the US for sailing its ships into the Taiwan Strait, on Monday the US sailed a warship near the Paracel Islands, claimed by China and Vietnam, on the five-year anniversary of the Hague ruling on China’s claims. Beijing blasted this move and said its forces “drove” the American vessel away.
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Source:RT World News