China slams US, Japan for sowing discord at summit

By Bai Tiantian in Vientiane Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/9 1:03:39

‘Cooperation, not military alliance’ needed in E.Asia

China on Thursday criticized the US and Japan for sowing discord by pressuring it on the South China Sea ruling at the East Asia Summit.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters Thursday after the East Asia Summit that 16 out of 18 countries at the summit support the progress made by China and ASEAN members to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and for pushing forward negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC).

"Only two outside countries have mentioned the South China Sea arbitration, insisting the ruling was binding and demanding that the verdict be implemented," Liu said, without identifying the two countries.

Liu called such acts "inappropriate" and against the region's trend to resolve disputes through dialogue.

"[Such acts] are sowing discord in the region and are self-isolating. We strongly oppose them," Liu said.

US President Barack Obama on Thursday told ASEAN leaders that the South China Sea ruling in July is binding and helped clarify maritime rights in the region.

"I recognize this raises tensions but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions and promote diplomacy and stability," AFP quoted him as saying.

Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry press secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura on Wednesday also said at a press briefing that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would bring up the South China Sea disputes at the East Asia Summit on Thursday.

An arbitration tribunal in The Hague in July ruled against China's claims within the nine-dash line in the South China Sea. China considers the arbitration illegal and called the ruling "null and void" without legal binding force.

Liu also said the photographs released by the Philippine defense department showing what it said was an increased number of Chinese vessels near Huangyan Island carry "inaccurate information." Liu reiterated that China has not taken new actions. He noted that China would not launch a protest to the Philippine government but would instead resolve the issue through dialogue.

Thursday's East Asia Summit lasted two hours and 40 minutes. The leaders who attended the summit discussed anti-terrorism efforts, pushing forward regional cooperation, anti-protectionism and strengthening maritime cooperation.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who spoke after US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told leaders at the summit that since the 16th century, colonialism has caused great damage to the Philippines, leading to many contemporary issues, including the country's prevailing drug problem.

Duterte did not attend the earlier ASEAN-US and ASEAN-India summits Thursday morning as "he was not feeling well."

No to military alliance

Obama also held a press conference on Thursday in Vientiane after the East Asia Summit. He reiterated US support for the South China Sea arbitral ruling, which he said is binding, to reporters.

Apart from the South China Sea, North Korea also appeared in both China's and the US' press conferences.

Liu told reporters that peace in East Asia must be achieved through cooperation among East Asian countries rather than a military alliance.

"Relevant countries wish to strengthen a bilateral or trilateral military alliance to maintain peace. This kind of thinking is outdated and shows a Cold War mentality," Liu said.

Abe on Wednesday told South Korean President Park Guen-hye that the two countries should strengthen their alliance, calling North Korea's missile launches "unforgivable and outrageous," Kawamura said.

At the Thursday press conference also attended by a Global Times reporter, Obama said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of fully implementing UN sanctions on North Korea. He admitted that China has done more to implement sanctions on North Korea this time around. But Obama said areas remain where China needs to tighten up.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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