Monday, August 06, 2012

China demands US kowtow

Commentary: U.S. should refrain from sending wrong signals over South China Sea BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua)
A recent U.S. statement on the South China Sea sent wrong signals and did not help with the peace and stability in the region and Asia-Pacific at large.

The U.S. State Department on Friday accused China of taking unconstructive moves in the South China Sea.

"China's upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region," said the State Department in a statement.

The statement, which ignores facts and deliberately confuses right and wrong, is an apparent interference in the internal affairs of China, and reflects the U.S. ambition of manipulating Asian affairs.

China calls in U.S. diplomat over South China Sea
The State Department on Friday said it was monitoring the situation in the seas closely, adding that China's establishment of a military garrison for the area runs "counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region".

n a statement released late on Saturday, China's Foreign Ministry said Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng summoned the U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Wang to make "serious representations" about the issue.

Zhang said the U.S. statement "disregarded the facts, confused right with wrong, sent a seriously wrong signal and did not help with efforts by relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea or the Asia Pacific."

"China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition, urges the U.S. side to immediately to mend the error of its ways, earnestly respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and do more to genuinely benefit stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific," he added.

A separate statement by ministry spokesman Qin Gang repeated that China had absolute sovereignty over the sea and its myriad islands and had every right to formally set up a city to administer the region, which it did last month.

"Why does the U.S. turn a blind eye to the facts that certain countries opened a number of oil and gas blocks, and issued domestic laws illegally appropriating Chinese islands and waters?" Qin said.

"Why does the U.S. avoid talking about the threats of military vessels to Chinese fishermen by certain countries and their unjustified claims of sovereignty rights over Chinese islands?" he added.

The official Xinhua news agency said the United States was trying to present itself as an honest broker in the dispute, but that its real intent was to stir up trouble and drive a wedge between China and its neighbors for its own gain.

Washington should "thoroughly abandon it plot to seek advantage from the chaos so the South China Sea can resume its role as a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation", Xinhua said in an angry commentary.

South China Sea feud: Beijing rebukes Washington's 'biased' stance (Russia)
But the Philippines has also claimed the territory.

And it’s no wonder that the sea is coveted by both nations, as its waters and islands are rich in oil and gas. According to China's Ministry of Geological Resources and Mining, the South China Sea may contain up to 17.7 billion tons of crude oil.

According to CBS News, the United States has consistently said that it refuses to take sides, although it is obliged to defend the Philippines from outside aggression, under an existing mutual defense treaty.

But America’s actions have angered China, and Beijing isn’t keeping quiet.

In July 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country had a "national interest" in the South China Sea. Since then, Washington has taken a series of unilateral actions in the region, according to Xinhua.

Earlier this year, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that he would raise the Navy's Pacific Ocean deployment by 10 per cent.

China has made it clear that it is uninterested in American intervention.

China National Offshore Oil Corp-Nexen deal to help South China sea thrust
The $15 billion bid by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) to buy Canada's Nexen, Inc will help the Chinese state giant gain the expertise to drill in deep, disputed waters of the South China Sea without relying on risk-averse foreign firms.

CNOOC has emerged as a key component of China's strategy to bolster its claims to nearly the entire South China Sea.

China's policy has also included diplomatic pressure aimed at keeping the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN) divided over the sea dispute; the establishment of a city government and military garrison at Sansha city in the Paracel Islands; and more assertive patrols of contested seas.

The intensifying squabble in waters that carry $5 trillion in annual trade drew a statement of concern on Thursday from Washington, which officially is neutral on the dispute.

US: China garrison raises tension in disputed sea
The Senate on Thursday also urged restraint among China and five of its neighbors and said the U.S. was committed to assisting Southeast Asian nations remaining "strong and independent."

The U.S. statement also follows an acrimonious annual meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations last month, where for the first time in its 45-year history, the bloc failed to issue a communique. The host country, Cambodia, viewed as pro-Beijing, rejected a proposal by the Philippines and Vietnam to mention their separate territorial disputes with China.

The United States, which has tens of thousands of forces based in the Asia-Pacific, views itself as a stabilizing influence in the region, and its diplomacy on the South China Sea, where it says it holds no position on the competing sovereignty claims, has helped boost its standing in Southeast Asia. But criticism of China risks straining ties with Beijing that the U.S. also sees as crucial for regional stability.

China opposes intervention in South China Sea
China has indisputable sovereign rights over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, and the country opposes any military intervention in this area, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.

According to relevant rules, a regular combat-readiness patrol system has been established in sea waters under China's jurisdiction, Geng Yansheng, the spokesman, said in response to a question at a press conference.

"The Chinese navy is justified in protecting the country's interests, and it is groundless to equate such a justified action with tough foreign policy," he said.

Geng also said the establishment of the city of Sansha is a readjustment by the Chinese government to existing administrative bodies, which is an issue within China's sovereignty and unrelated to other countries.

"China will continue to seek appropriate solutions through bilateral negotiations and consultations with the parties directly involved in the concerned disputes," Geng said.

China is also willing to cooperate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in all fields, including the defense security relationship, in order to boost regional peace, stability and prosperity, Geng added.

Follow this South China Seas row here.

For background on the basis for claims to the area, see this and this and this and this for starters.

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