South China Sea rows not your affair, U.S., Japan told


China traded barbs Thursday with the United States and Japan regarding the territorial disputes it is having with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the South China Sea, telling the nonclaimants to mind their own business.

“China and ASEAN have agreed that the disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully through consultations and negotiations between countries directly concerned, and countries that are not parties to the disputes should not get involved,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the East Asia Summit in Brunei.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged all countries concerned to abide by international law and refrain from unilateral action and the use of force in addressing the South China Sea issue, making an indirect reference to Beijing’s increasingly assertive claims to most of the disputed waters.

“Japan and other members of the international community have an interest in peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Abe said after the summit. “The ocean is an important international public asset, and we think basic rules on the ocean such as peaceful resolution of conflicts, freedom of navigation and observance of international law, including the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, should be respected.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who participated in the summit in place of President Barack Obama, said the voices of both claimant states and nonclaimants must be heard because the nonclaimants share an interest in peace and stability, freedom of navigation and the principle of unimpeded lawful commerce in the sea, according to an ASEAN diplomatic source.

Li, attending the ASEAN-related summits for the first time since becoming premier in March, disagreed, saying freedom of navigation in the South China Sea “has never been an issue and will never be one.”

Eleven of the 18 EAS members referred to the South China Sea issue at the summit, a senior Japanese official said.

The South China Sea, claimed wholly or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, has some of the world’s busiest shipping routes and is believed to be rich in oil and gas resources.

Abe said Japan has a “high interest” in official consultations started by the 10-member ASEAN and China in September to draft a legally binding code of conduct to reduce territorial and maritime conflicts in the South China Sea.

“We hope to see the compilation at an early date of a legally binding and effective COC that will contribute to the settlement of conflicts,” Abe said.

Li said China “will work for positive, steady progress in the consultations” on the code “on the basis of consensus building.”

Like Abe, Kerry urged ASEAN and China to speed up such talks. “Dialogue is essential but not a substitute to concrete action. Without real progress, we cannot reduce risks, miscalculation and misinterpretation,” he was quoted as saying by the ASEAN source.

While Beijing has lobbied some ASEAN members to prevent the group from reaching a consensus on the South China Sea issue, Washington has encouraged ASEAN to maintain coherence and unity to bolster their position against China during negotiations on the code.

The United States has not publicly taken sides, but U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that Washington has a vital interest in freedom of navigation in the sea and is eager to see an effective code signed.

Speaking at a post-summit press conference, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said that while ASEAN and China agreed to have more regular meetings next year, ASEAN will continue to work on practical measures, such as establishing communications hotlines, including those for search and rescue missions.

  • iwishitweretrue

    China is correct. Japan has no valid interest in the South China sea disputes and is just trying to use the issue to try and cover up its crime of stealing the historically Chinese Diaoyu islands from China. In other words – Jpan is trying to pull a fast one!! The US is behaving like an accessory to the crime over the Diaoyu as well – and needs to behave decently.

    • PulSamsara

      (posted from Building R-41 – Beijing Newspeak District Headquarters)

    • JoeBun

      haha! iwishitweretrue speaks like a true Chinese troll.
      It is necessary for Japan and the US to be involved because of China’s Nazi like ambitions. Without the US and Japan, China would’ve invaded all of Asia by now.

      • Justice1215

        US is trying to contain China with the help of her subservient state “Japan”.

        As Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser said: This policy of containment seems to suggest that the US does not
        understand the difference between the former Soviet Union and today’s China. One was a formidable, ideological, aggressive military opponent with whom there were minimal economic or trade links.
        With China, there is no evidence of the imperialism practiced by
        Russia or by most European states and indeed by the US and Japan. A policy of
        containment also ignores the fact that China and America’s economy are
        closely interlinked by debt, by capital investment and by markets, all
        of which are important to both countries.

    • Viva75

      Clearly yet another member of the 50 Cent Party on Japantimes.co.jp spewing the usual garbage

  • mulaht

    So who’s affair is this? If U.S and Japan allowed China’s bullies attitude, China will ate all its weak neighbors.

  • hai_nguyen

    “Li, attending the ASEAN-related summits for the first time since
    becoming premier in March, disagreed, saying freedom of navigation in
    the South China Sea has never been an issue and will never be one.” Wrong! Mr. Li: Your Navy has shot, chased away Vietnamese fishing boats and cut cables of Vietnamese oil survey ships traveling within their UN sanctioned EEZ. That’s blatant violations of freedom of navigation.

  • Justice1215

    China’s growth in economic power presented a threat to the hegemony of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan as a subservient state to U.S. is trying his best to help his master in containing China.

    The US now talks as though China may wish to curtail freedom of the
    seas in the South China Sea. That sounds like an ABSURD ALLEGATION. It
    is an important waterway for trade involving many countries.Two-thirds of China’s own trade goes through the South China Sea and much of it in foreign-registered ships. China and the US have an equal interest in preserving freedom of the seas.

    There is a danger that the US is seeking to maintain supremacy in
    Asia, which could likely lead to war. If, on the other hand, she is
    prepared to come to an accommodation with China, there is no reason why
    peace cannot be maintained.

    In stock market we invest in the future so is in international relation. Those who invest in the past are doomed to suffer great loss.
    US and Japan are still STUCK IN THE PAST!!

    As former President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in “The Chance for Peace”
    It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions WITH SIMPLICITY AND WITH HONEST.
    It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men:IS THERE NO OTHER WAY THE WORLD MAY LIVE ?

  • CharlieMurphy!

    China says, South East Asia is not your affair. Hitler said Europe is not your affair. Any difference?

  • Dipak Bose

    You donot like to buy Chinese but you are forced to buy. Chinese umbrella last two rains, but there is no umbrella not made in China. Chinese made Dell computer suddenly lose its power supply and cannot be repaired. You may buy Sony or Sanyo, whose Chinese made battery can explode. We are all losing money because of China and the trading companies who will not sell anything which is not Chinese. I am looking for gas cooker not made in China as they last exactly 3 months) , cannot find one.