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US Must Keep Promise Not to Take Sides in South China Sea Issue: Official

(CRI Online)    20:22, June 02, 2016

An official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry has called on the US to keep its promise and not to take sides in the South China Sea issue.

The call comes as China and the US prepare to hold the eighth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue on Monday in Beijing.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to discuss the South China Sea issue during the meeting.

Vice-Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang, at a warm-up forum for the dialogue held in Beijing on Thursday, said the US is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes.

"In reality the U.S. is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes, they have said themselves that they don't hold a position on the territorial sovereignty disputes. So we hope that the U.S. can refrain from picking sides, and instead determine their position based on the truths and falsehoods of the issue and not on who their allies are."

The vice-foreign minister reaffirmed China's stance on the South China Sea, saying that China has the right to safeguard its own territory and legitimate maritime interests, as the South China Sea islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times.

He noted that China is committed to keeping peace and stability in the South China Sea and manage disputes via dialogue.

He said China will insist on peacefully resolving the issue through negotiations and consultations, and realizing win-win results through cooperation.

Besides the South China Sea, Zheng further noted the meetings will cover a wide range of issues:

"We will mainly exchange in-depth views on the building of a new-type of major country relationship between China and the United States, the deepening of bilateral practical cooperation, the the management of differences and sensitive issues, the interactive relationship between China and the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region, and other international, regional and global issues."

Meanwhile, the two sides are also to hold discussions on the economic track.

China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao says a bilateral investment agreement will be the focus of the meetings:

"According to the important consensus reached between the presidents of the two countries, the two sides have held 24 rounds of negotiations on a China-U.S. bilateral investment agreement. We will firmly put the important consensus into practice and boost the negotiations on the China-U.S. bilateral investment agreement so as to lay a more solid institutional foundation for economic cooperation between the two countries."

The two sides will also have in-depth discussions on exchanges and cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health and sports at the seventh round of the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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