China reiterates freedom of navigation in South China Sea

08:17, July 08, 2011      

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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had reaffirmed the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea during a recent meeting with his Japanese counterpart Takeaki Matsumoto, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday.

Hong made the statement at a regular press conference in response to a question regarding Japan's concern over tensions in the South China Sea.

During the meeting, Yang reiterated China's stance on the South China Sea issue, Hong said.

Yang told Matsumoto that shipping lanes remain unblocked in the waters surrounding China and Japan, as well as in adjacent waters near the Asian continent, Hong noted.

Yang reassured Matsumoto that ships will continue to be free to navigate in the shipping lanes, Hong said.

As one of the major beneficiaries of free navigation in the South China Sea, Japan has been "very clear" about the conditions of relevant sea areas, Hong said.

Matsumoto paid an official visit to China from July 3 to 4 at the invitation of Yang. The visit was his first to China since he took office in March this year.

Source: Xinhua
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