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China voices discontent with G7 FMs statement on S. China Sea disputes

Reporter: Wu Guoxiu 丨 CCTV.com

04-12-2016 14:16 BJT

Chinese Foreign Ministry has voiced strong opposition to a statement by the Group of Seven foreign ministers on the South China Sea disputes. At their meeting in Hiroshima, the foreign ministers said they strongly oppose provocation in the East and South China Seas. None of their countries are involved in the latter. Chinese analysts believe the move is a hijacking by Japan to further its own political ambitions.

In a statement released after the Hiroshima talks, G7 foreign ministers said they strongly oppose provocation in the East and South China Seas.

But no G7 nation has any claims in the South China Sea.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China's activities in the East and South China Seas are completely within China's sovereignty.  He said China is always committed to resolving relevant disputes with countries immediately involved through negotiations. China will neither accept nor participate in any arbitration illegally forced upon it. Lu also said the G7 member states should honor their commitment of not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes.

Japan is hosting G7 meetings this year.

Reports say this is not the first time that Japan has tried to persuade the seven nations to express “strong opposition” to China's territorial claims.

The 2015 G7 communiqué in Germany included similar wording.

"The purpose of Japan to raise this issue on international area is to try to raise its own international status, self-perceived diplomatic success on the part of the Japanese government," said Professor Gui Yongtao, International Studies, Peking University.

In February, Japan agreed to sell military equipment to the Philippines, one of the claimant countries in the South China Sea.

Last week, Japan dispatched warships to "observe" US-Philippine maneuvers, for the first time in 15 years.

Chinese analysts are concerned that Japan's ambition in the South China Sea would hurt Sino-Japanese ties, which are already faltering over the Diaoyu Islands disputes in the East China Sea and Japan’s recently enacted security laws that allow its troops to fight overseas.

"I believe that Japan is miscalculating the situation in the region. There has been much cooperation between China and its regional partners. Japan is playing up competition, which is not fact on the ground," Professor Gui said.

As a claimant country, China is actively advancing consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, which have resulted in two consensus documents.

Relevant parties have also agreed to set up a maritime emergency hotline, and work on joint search and rescue.

Many Chinese analysts believe that Japan, despite not having any claims in the South China Sea, is trying to wade further into the issue to help build its own political influence. But experts say its involvement would only complicate the situation further...as solving disputes is a matter for China, and other relevant countries.

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