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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Beijing 'consistent' on S. China Sea: FM (2)

By Cheng Guangjin  (China Daily)

08:43, March 01, 2012

"The US military must be present there to ensure the security of those sea lines of communication," Willard said.

Hong said China's stance on the South China Sea issue is "consistent - not stronger or weaker".

"China has insisted on peaceful development and friendly nationhood policies, eyeing regional peace and stability, and solving disputes with relevant parties through friendly negotiations based on historical facts and international law," Hong said.

Hong said the crux of the disputes are claims over the territory of some islands and demarcation of some waters in the sea.

"No country including China has claimed sovereignty over the whole South China Sea. We don't know whether those who always make irresponsible remarks on this issue are doing it out of ignorance or have ulterior motives. We need to clarify it," Hong said.

In another development, the Philippines said on Wednesday it would push ahead with plans to expand oil and gas exploration in the disputed waters despite China's claim of the area, according to the AFP.

Philippine Energy Undersecretary James Layug said it was preparing to issue exploration licenses for 15 blocs, three of which were in the South China Sea.

Hong said on Tuesday that "it is illegal for any country, government or company, without the Chinese government's permission, to develop oil and natural gas in waters under Chinese jurisdiction".

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