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Beijing urges ASEAN to oppose US intervention in South China Sea

Manila, July 25 (IANS) China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday urged the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to oppose the intervention of non-regional forces in South China Sea, referring to recent military excursions carried out by the US in the area.

In a joint press conference in Manila with his Philippines counterpart Alan Peter Cayetano, Wang said non-regional forces do not want stability in South China Sea and only want to create trouble.

Beijing has a long-standing dispute with different countries in the region (Brunei, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam) over sovereignty of the Spratly islands and other insular territories in South China Sea.

The US had sent a guided-missile destroyer in early July near the Paracel islands, which both China and Vietnam consider to be under their respective sovereignty. China had responded by sending naval ships and warplanes, which raised tensions between both countries.

Without directly naming the US, Wang emphasised the need to take a joint stand against such actions, Efe news reported.

He said that China and the ASEAN countries had the capacity and wisdom to resolve their differences and maintain stability in the South China Sea.

In May, China and the ASEAN’s member states — Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — had approved a first draft of a multilateral code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes.

In recent years, the Chinese government has constructed many facilities on artificial islands in the area which could be used for military purposes, leading to concerns in neighbouring countries and the US, which seeks free navigation in the whole region.

Beijing, which claims indisputable sovereignty on 90 per cent of the area, has ignored the recommendations and criticism of other countries and international bodies, including the Hague Tribunal’s verdict in favour of Philippines on the Scarborough Shoal dispute.

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