China slams G7 statement on maritime disputes

China slams G7 statement on maritime disputes

BEIJING – Agence France-Presse
China slams G7 statement on maritime disputes

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Canada's Foreign Minister Stephane Dion offer a silent prayer at the Memorial Cenotaph for the 1945 atomic bombing victims in the Peace Memorial Park, on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hiroshima on April 11, 2016 - AFP photo

China is “strongly dissatisfied” with a Group of Seven (G-7) statement calling for restraint in disputed waters, the foreign ministry said April 12, as worries grow in Asia over Beijing’s territorial and military ambitions.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with relevant moves taken by G-7,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.

“We urge G-7 members to abide by their promise of not taking sides on territorial disputes, respect the efforts by regional countries, stop all irresponsible words and actions, and make constructive contribution to regional peace and stability.” 

A two-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers - a grouping that excludes China - in the Japanese city of Hiroshima issued a joint statement saying: “We are concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and emphasize the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes.

“We express our strong opposition to any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions.” 

The G-7 statement did not explicitly name China, but Beijing lays claim to almost all of the South China Sea despite conflicting partial claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines.  

It has constructed artificial islands in the area in recent months as it asserts its sovereignty.

Japan, meanwhile, has its own dispute with China in the East China Sea over uninhabited islands that it administers but that are also claimed by Beijing.

The G-7 also urged “all states to refrain from such actions as land reclamations” and “building of outposts... for military purposes.”

Beijing indicated that it felt targeted by the comments.

“Given the sluggish global economic recovery at the moment, G-7 should have focused on global economic governance and cooperation instead of hyping up maritime issues and fuelling tensions in the region,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu said.