A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Tuesday lambasted the G7 over comments insinuating China is at fault over tensions in the East and South China Seas. “The remarks of the G7 fall far short of the facts and international justice,” said Hong Lei at a regular news conference, referring to a declaration released on Monday, after a summit of the G7. The group is made up of industrialised nations, namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the U.S. “We are concerned by tensions in the East and South China Seas.
“We underline the importance of peaceful dispute settlement as well as free and unimpeded lawful use of the world’s oceans. “We strongly oppose the use of intimidation, coercion or force, as well as any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo, such as large scale land reclamation,” the G7 leaders had said. Although they stopped short of mentioning any specific country, it is obvious that the Western countries were pointing fingers at China.
Hong said the international community have fair opinions on the rights and wrongs of the issues over the East and South China Seas, in which a number of countries hold competing claims of sovereignty. “China is committed to maintaining freedom of navigation and over flight in the East and South China Seas. “It will be the first to come out against any behaviour threatening navigational freedom in these waters,” he said.
The spokesperson also reaffirmed China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island also known as Senkaku Islands in Japan and their affiliated islets in the East China Sea.
He also said China had sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters in the South China Sea. Hong said land reclamation around islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands falls within its sovereignty and no foreign countries should intervene. According to him, construction on these islands is mainly for civilian purposes, which will enable China to better fulfill its international obligations.
He listed some of the obligations to include maritime, search and rescue and navigation, and their military functions. “The Chinese government will never recognise the illegal occupation of its Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islets as well as parts of the Nansha Islands by other countries,” he said.