China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged the resolution of South China Sea tensions in a peaceful manner, amid its ongoing row with the Philippines, which revealed plans on Monday that may deepen rifts with China.
China hopes both sides behave in a way that is conducive to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Tuesday during a press conference.
Liu also said "China hopes to resolve the South China Sea disputes in a peaceful way through dialogue and negotiations with the relevant countries," while denouncing the Philippines' intention to raise the South China Sea disputes at the upcoming 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting in Cambodia, which Liu described as an inappropriate forum for the topic.
Liu's remarks came after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Monday that the country may ask the US to send spy planes over the South China Sea to help monitor the disputed waters.
"It is not inconsistent with our policy to de-escalate tensions in the area. First of all, it is only for surveillance and there is no armed component" to the request," Ramon Carandang, a presidential spokesman for the Philippines said on Monday, as quoted by AFP.
"Manila's claim that it's purely for monitoring and surveillance purposes is flimsy, given the country's continued deliberate attempts to over-sensationalize the dispute," Ji Qiufeng, a professor at the School of International Relations at Nanjing University, told the Global Times.
Ji said the Philippines often uses this strategy - attempting to pull the US into its tensions with China. He said "these efforts will prove to be fruitless, as the US has been clarifying its stance that it won't intervene in the disputes."
Without pointing directly at the Philippines' request for a spy plane deployment, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday that "as part of our long-standing military cooperation, the United States supports the Philippines in enhancing its maritime domain awareness. This has in the past included and will continue to include information sharing, capacity building..."
"We're talking about helping the Philippines be aware of what is going on, and supporting our ally in defense of its own security," Nuland said, noting the US stance on the South China Sea remains unchanged.