China ‘strongly dissatisfied’ with G7 statement on East, South China Seas

Image: Soldiers from honour guards hold red flags during a welcoming ceremony for Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang (not pictured) outside the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is “strongly dissatisfied” with the mention of the East and South China Sea issues in a Group of Seven (G7) statement, and the G7 allies should stop making irresponsible remarks, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

China is committed to properly resolving disputes with all nations involved through negotiations while maintaining peace and stability in the East China Sea and South China Sea, spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement on Sunday.

China hopes the G7 and other nations would refrain from taking positions, fully respect the efforts of countries in the region in handling the disputes, and stop making irresponsible remarks, Lu said.

In their communique on Saturday, G7 leaders said they were concerned by the situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. They also called for a demilitarisation of “disputed features”.

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

Beijing’s extensive claims to the South China Sea are also challenged by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as Taiwan.

The United States has criticised China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and broaden Beijing’s strategic reach.

Earlier this week, a U.S navy warship conducted a so-called freedom-of-navigation drill near Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.

The manoeuvre, the first under the Trump administration, prompted an angry response from Beijing.

The G7 consists of the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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