China warns US over disputed S China Sea

China warns US over disputed S China Sea

China warns US over disputed S China Sea

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. REUTERS photo

China has warned the United States not to get involved in South China Sea territorial disputes yesterday as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to Beijing pledging to pass on a strong message on the need to calm regional tension.

Clinton is expected to meet today outgoing President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping. Clinton’s last visit to China in May was overshadowed by a crisis over prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng, who fled to the U.S. embassy after reporting beatings under arbitrary house arrest in his home in Shandong province.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei suggested at a daily news briefing that Washington was not a helpful force in the maritime disputes. “We have noted that the U.S. has stated many times that it does not

take sides,” he said when asked about the U.S. role. “We hope that the U.S. will abide by its promises and do more that is beneficial to regional peace and stability, and not the opposite.”

In Indonesia, Clinton urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to move quickly on a code of conduct for the South China Sea and stressed that disputes should be resolved “without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force.” The United States has taken a vocal stance on the South China Sea, through which half of the world’s cargo flows, as the Philippines and Vietnam accuse a rising Beijing of intimidation to exert its claims.