China: Small states shouldn't make unreasonable demands
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2015 - 11:05am

MANILA, Philippines — Insisting on a two-way dialogue with rival claimants, Beijing on Thursday said smaller states should not have the upper hand in issues concerning the South China Sea.

"On international relations, China always maintains that all countries, regardless of the size, are equal. We are against the bullying of small countries by big countries," China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press conference.

"At the same time, we also believe that small countries should not make unreasonable demands," she added.

She said "international rules" should apply despite the "equality of all countries" on their rights and interests.

Beijing's statement was in response to remarks of Daniel Russel, United States (US) Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who was in Manila earlier this week.

Russel reiterated Washington's concern over "behavior that raises tensions" and "behavior that would appear to be inconsistent" with international principles in the disputed sea.

READ: China builds ports, helipads on Spratly islands

While not directly referring to the US, Hua said that countries who are not directly involved in the maritime dustup should "uphold an objective and fair position."

"[They should] do more things that will truly safeguard peace and stability of the region, and make less inflammatory remarks that may stir up trouble," the Chinese official said.

Russel, who met with Philippine officials for bilateral talks, called China's activities in the South China Sea "wholesale reclamation," which should alarm not only the Philippines but the Southeast Asian region as well.

RELATED: Why reduced South China Sea tension is possible in 2015

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE BEIJING CHINA CHINA FOREIGN MINISTRY DANIEL RUSSEL EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS HUA CHUNYING SOUTH CHINA SEA SOUTHEAST ASIAN UNITED STATES
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