China hits G7's 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, from left, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy pose for a photo ahead of G7 foreign ministers at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on Sunday, April 22, 2018.
Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP

China hits G7's 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - April 26, 2018 - 2:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing expressed its opposition to the statement of the G7 foreign ministers regarding China's actions in the East and South China Seas.

The foreign ministers of the seven richest countries of the world, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, urged all parties in the disputed waters to comply with international law.

"We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order, such as the threat or use of force, large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes," the G7 joint communique read.

The G7 also called for the demilitarization of the disputed features in the South China Sea to secure peace and stability in the region.

The group also expressed concern regarding the destruction of marine ecosystems in the disputed waterway, which threatens sustainability and regional fish stocks.

"We emphasize the importance of ongoing negotiations for an effective code of conduct and welcome an agreement that does not derogate from the rights parties enjoy under international law or affect the rights of third parties," the G7 said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, called out the G7 for its joint communique containing "irresponsible comments" against Beijing's actions in the East and South China Seas, as well as the country's human rights record.

"China is firmly opposed to these words and deeds that show no respect for truth and no sense of responsibility," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

Beijing stressed that the country's position on the aforementioned maritime disputes has always been "clear-cut and consistent."

"China is always committed to working with the parties directly concerned to properly manage and resolve relevant differences through negotiation and consultation, advance cooperation in various areas, jointly uphold peace and stability of the relevant waters in the region, and safeguard freedom of navigation and overflight and security of sea passages," Lu said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also asked the G7 countries to "respect facts" especially when it comes to maritime issues.

"They should also respect the efforts made by regional countries to uphold stability while focusing on cooperation and development, and refrain from stirring up troubles and making irresponsible remarks," Lu said.

The G7 has always been consistent in its position on the South China Sea dispute. Since 2016, the group of the advanced countries has agreed that there is a need to send a strong message against China's actions in the contested waters.

RELATED: Unlike ASEAN, G7 leaders send strong statement on South China Sea

Related video:

CANADA CHINA FRANCE G7 GERMANY ITALY JAPAN SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED KINGDOM UNITED STATES
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