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FM calls for direct talks in sea disputes

By Ma Liyao (

09:26, October 18, 2011

BEIJING - China on Monday reiterated its stance of resolving disputes in the South China Sea through talks between nations that are directly involved.

Multinational talks will not help and may make the issue even more complicated, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a daily press meeting.

Liu's remarks came after Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba proposed a multilateral framework to settle maritime disputes in the South China Sea during a tour of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.

China has always been against resolving the disputes under a multinational framework. Japan, which is not in the region and has no claim over the South China Sea, is not the first country to propose this process to solve disputes.

The Philippines opposed the latest China-Vietnam joint statement on the second day it was issued and called for a multilateral approach, rather than a bilateral agreement, to resolve disputes concerning the South China Sea.

Having long-standing disputes over sovereignty of part of the South China Sea, China and Vietnam issued a joint statement last week as Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visited

Beijing, reaffirming their political will to settle maritime issues through negotiations and friendly consultation.

"The fact that China and Vietnam have agreed to settle maritime disputes through negotiations has nothing to do with a third party," Liu said, adding that the joint agreement is important for guiding the long-term healthy and stable development of bilateral relations and reflects the determination and will of both countries to properly handle disputes.

He also called on other countries to respect nations within the region that "are making efforts to solve disputes through bilateral talks and negotiations".

The Philippines also has some overlapping claims with China over some islands and reefs in the area, which cover more than 3.5 million square kilometers and are believed to hold vast deposits of oil and natural gas.

"China-Philippines maritime disputes can only be resolved through direct negotiations between China and the Philippines, a stance the Philippines is quite clear about," Liu said.

Alongside disputes over the South China Sea, China also has overlapping maritime claims over the East China Sea with Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Sunday in a speech at a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force base north of Tokyo that the national security environment of Japan "has grown increasingly murky due to

China's stepped-up activities in local waters and its rapid military expansion, along with North Korea's (the Democratic People Republic of Korea) repeated militaristic provocations".

Asked about Noda's speech, Liu said that China's national defense growth and military modernization are completely in line with the country's needs of maintaining national security.

"As a country that has a population of 1.3 billion and long coastlines, it is reasonable for us to develop our defense strength. It is not targeting any specific country," he said.

Shen Mingchun and Xinhua contributed to this story.


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

Asian Observer at 2011-10-18220.255.2.*
Just talking without flexing the military muscles will be deaf ears to others, especially to the pariah philippines who continuously treat China as the sick pussy. If philippines want to play hard ball and talk big with China in spite of receiving numerous economic benefits and aids from her, then China should reconsider providing clandestine financial and military aids to Philippines" NPA and Moro rebels to help Philippines focus on its internal problems. Since Japan, Vietnam and Philippines are playing a two faces games with China all the while, then China should likewise return in kind to these rogue states. As for the resurgent Japan, its successive prime ministers and its defence white papers has blatantly labelled China as a adversary and the nation has not atone to the atrocities of the past wars in Asia, so why should China shown Japan much diplomatic courtesy and restraint? They can’t have two sides of the same coin, on one side, need China’s economic growth engine to pull their nation out of hyperinflation woods and at the same time propagate to their nationals and the world on the spurious China’s threat. Russia has already provided China with a worked solution handling the little nippon, which is the hard approach, as the soft approach will only bring you despair and disrespect and worse of all placed yourself in an unfavourable position. Not too long ago in the late 70s, Vietnam had invaded Cambodia and set up the Indo-china confederation to dominate the whole of Indo-China and its military forces till the 1980s were constantly had border clashes with Thailand in the Thai-Cambodian border, Asean at that time was wits end on the Vietnamese military threat, providing arms and military trainings to the Khmer freedom fighters to slow down the communist domino effect and now the same Vietnam is summoning Asean to challenge China in her maritime expansions in South China Sea. A gentle reminder to japan, philippines and vietnam , Asean was originally setup as a regional grouping for economic developments and not as a platform to be used as a proxies to create regional instability in your maritime territorial expansions in East China sea and South China Sea , so don’t drag other Asean nations in the your bilateral disputes. If you have neither the strength nor capacity to challenge China without dragging your American sugar daddy and the anti China western media along, just shut the fcuk off. Unlike the beggar nations of Vietnam and Philippines, other Asean nations have sizeable economic investments in China and vice-versa, so go and wage your proxy war elsewhere, don’t rock the boat here.
Zhou Jun at 2011-10-18173.66.230.*
Action speaks louder than words. Such headlines makes China and the Foreign Ministry like a bunch of wimps. No balls, no spine. We humiliate ourselves with such useless people with no leadership calibre.

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