China on EU's South China Sea position: Don't look at us
Camille Diola (Philstar.com) - March 16, 2016 - 4:07am

MANILA, Philippines — China on Tuesday pointed to rival claimants after the European Union came out with a statement against the deployment of missiles and military forces in the South China Sea.

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on March 11 said recent military activities in the key trade route is a major concern as it affects regional security and freedom of navigation and overflight.

"The EU therefore calls on all claimants to refrain from militarisation in the region, from the use or threat of force, and to abstain from unilateral actions," Mogherini said.

Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, blamed "coastal countries" it failed to name for being the "crux and root cause" of the longstanding maritime row.

"[The] territorial disputes [are] caused by some coastal countries' illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands in violation of the UN Charter and the basic norms guiding international relations since the 1970s," Lu said at a press briefing, calling the disputed Spratly (Kalayaan) Islands by their Chinese name.

The Philippines controls a handful of the habitable features in an area of the South China Sea it calls the West Philippines Sea, while Vietnam and Taiwan also occupy some islands nearby. China, meanwhile, has prevented access to Philippine-claimed Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and has built islands hosting military outposts and runways in recent years.

Apparently referring to the United States, Lu suggested that other countries in the region and outside of it should also work on the non-militarization of the waters.

"I want to stress that non-militarization of the South China Sea requires the concerted efforts of countries both in and outside the region. It is hoped that relevant parties can respect history and efforts made by regional countries in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea," Lu said.

The US Navy has been conducting freedom of navigation operations near artificial islands China built on contested reefs and features in the waterway. The emerging Asian power claims over 80 percent of the maritime conduit as historically its own.

"It is hoped that relevant parties can respect history and efforts made by regional countries in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea," Lu said.

Earlier this month, the US Navy deployed a small armada, the John C. Stennis Strike Group, to the South China Sea where it spotted Chinese Navy vessels remaining in its vicinity during the operation.

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with