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No bullying, US tells China

Jose Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - July 4, 2014 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved by peaceful means and not by bullying, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

Countries involved in disputes should work together to avoid miscalculation, to avoid a confrontation that neither side is seeking, and to find peaceful means of addressing problems, whether it be arbitration, for instance, as the Philippines has pursued, or other means of resolving claims, he said.

There are established international legal means for resolving these disputes “and our point is simply that we don’t want to see a process where a big nation – a bigger nation – can bully a smaller one to get its way on a territorial dispute,” Rhodes said.

Territorial disputes and maritime security will be a key topic of discussion between China and the United States in their strategic and security dialogue (S&ED) in Beijing next week, he said.

China asserts it owns virtually the entire South China Sea and rejects claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan to parts of it. At times the dispute, especially with the Philippines and Vietnam, has escalated into ship ramming and naval blockades by China.

China is also embroiled in a dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands which it calls Diaoyu in the East China Sea.

China clamped an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea last year, raising tensions in the region.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Rhodes said a major revision to Japan’s pacifist postwar defense policy freeing its military for the first time in 60 years to play a more assertive role in the tense region was in the interest of the region.

“We welcome Japan playing a growing role in terms of supporting international peace and security and contributing to the US-Japan bilateral alliance,” he said.

Rhodes said despite differences between the United States and China over certain territorial disputes and maritime issues in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea and in other fields, they have a very broad relationship that has space for areas of agreement and cooperation and then occasional differences.

“I think the key point has been that the United States and China can have differences, articulate those differences publicly, but still find areas to cooperate. That if we have a difference in one area, it need not derail the entire bilateral relationship, because both of us have so much at stake in that bilateral relationship, and in fact, the world has a lot at stake in that bilateral relationship,” he added.

 

AIR DEFENSE IDENTIFICATION ZONE BRUNEI AND TAIWAN CHINA CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES EAST CHINA SEA PHILIPPINES AND VIETNAM SENKAKU ISLANDS SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED STATES AND CHINA WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR BEN RHODES
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