China expresses anger at G7 position on dispute

Posted on April 13, 2016

CHINA’S expressed anger on Tuesday, after foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies said they strongly opposed provocation in the East and South China Seas, where China is locked in territorial disputes.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras -- Reuters
“We urge the G7 member states to honor their commitment of not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The G7 should focus on global economic governance and cooperation against the backdrop of weak economic growth rather than hyping up disputes and provoking problems, it added.

On Monday, G7 foreign ministers said after meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima that they opposed “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions” in the East and South China Seas.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea and is building islands on reefs to bolster its claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.

China also has a separate dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

The foreign ministry said China will neither accept nor participate in any arbitration “illegally forced upon it,” a reference to a case lodged by the Philippines against China.

“We urge the G7 member states to fully respect the efforts made by countries in the region, stop making irresponsible remarks and all irresponsible actions, and truly play a constructive role for regional peace and stability,” the ministry added.

For its part, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement it supports the G7’s recognition of “the importance of maintaining the sea as governed by the rule of law, which is indispensable for the peace and prosperity of the international community.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, in his maiden foreign visit on April 11, paid a courtesy call to newly-appointed Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi, a statement by the DFA reported.

Mr. Almendras discussed with Mr. Nguyen, and with other Vietnamese officials he also met in the course of his trip, ways to further advance the Philippines’ strategic partnership with Vietnam, as forged by a joint statement in Manila last year.

Areas for cooperation between the two countries include trade and investments, defense and security, agriculture and fisheries, science and technology, as well as culture and people-to-people exchanges, the DFA said. It was also agreed upon that both countries should begin coordination on drafting a new action plan for 2017-2022 to implement the joint statement.

On regional matters, Mr. Almendras exchanged views with the Vietnamese side on the latest developments in the disputed South China Sea, including the arbitration case against China. -- with Reuters