Beijing tells US officials: Sovereignty ‘solid as a rock’

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EYEBALL To EYEBALL US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) holds a meeting with China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi at Diaoyutai State guesthouse in Beijing on Saturday. AFP Photo

EYEBALL To EYEBALL
US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) holds a meeting with China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi at Diaoyutai State guesthouse in Beijing on Saturday. AFP Photo

BEIJING: China’s foreign minister told top US diplomat John Kerry on Saturday that Beijing was “unshakeable” in its defense of sovereignty, as tensions between the powers mount over Chinese island-building in strategic but disputed waters.

The United States is weighing sending warships and surveillance aircraft within 12 nautical miles — the normal territorial zone around natural land — of artificial islands that Beijing is building in the South China Sea.

Such a move could lead to a standoff on the high seas in an area home to vital global shipping lanes and believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

Beijing regards almost the whole of the South China Sea as its own and after talks in the Chinese capital foreign minister Wang Yi said: “The determination of the Chinese side to safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock and it is unshakeable.”


“It is the request of our people on our government as well as a legitimate right of ours,” he added sternly at their joint press conference.

Kerry was less assertive in public, saying Washington was “concerned about the pace and scope of China’s land reclamation” and urged it “to take actions that will join with everyone to reduce tensions”.

Smart diplomacy
The region needed “smart diplomacy”, he said, rather than “outposts and military strips”.
Senior State Department officials had said ahead of the meeting that Kerry would take a tough line and “leave his Chinese interlocutors in absolutely no doubt that the United States remains committed to maintain freedom of navigation”.

“That’s a principle that we are determined to uphold,” the official added.

The world’s top two economies have significant commercial ties and Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to pay a state visit to the United States in September.

But China’s ambitions for a place on the world’s political stage commensurate with its economic role have seen it cross the United States in multiple fields, and the two have long-running disputes over issues ranging from trade to cyberspying to human rights.

‘Hegemonic presence’
Beijing bases its territorial claims in the South China Sea on a segmented line dating back to Chinese maps of the 1940s.

Pentagon officials last week revealed that it is building artificial islands on top of South China Sea coral reefs at an unprecedented pace, in a land reclamation effort dubbed a “great wall of sand” by one American commander.

The rapid construction comes to 800 hectares, with 75 percent of the total created in the last five months alone, and includes a runway said to be 3,100 meters (10,200 feet) long.

US officials increasingly believe Washington needs to send a clear signal about China’s activities around the Spratly Islands and other disputed territories, while avoiding triggering a crisis.

AFP

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8 Comments

  1. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    17 May 2015

    China’s hard-nosed stand that its claim of “sovereignty” over those disputed islands in the Spratlys is like “SOLID ROCK” is in fact as strong as jelly because those islands are claimed by the Philippines as parts of its territory under International Law [UNCLOS].

    If its arrogant claims over those disputed islands are legal in fact, why does China refuse to participate in the proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL COURT OF THE LAW OF THE SEA [ITLOS] in Hamburg where the Philippines has brought a case against it?

    I know the reason: It knows that it is afraid it will lose the case which the Philippines has brought against it.

    But ITLOS may hand down a ruling by next year at the latest. And if that ruling is adverse to China, it will be binding on it just the same.

    Supposing China refuses to honor and obey such a ruling by ITLOS, China runs the risk of being considered an arrogant Bully by the world community. Some countries may even dub it a ROGUE STATE.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    Lapulapu1927@yahoo.com

    REPLY: But it will still illegally own the territories it has occupied and benefit from them. And no one can kick it out. Just like the British in Malvinas, And China in Tibet. Can any power dislodge China from Tibet?

  2. jaime hernandez on

    The U.S. will soon test the water in this disputed islands. They will come very close to the territorial claims of China. Let’s see what they will do when U.S. vessels navigate in the area. If they play chicken with the U.S. they might be surprised. If they try using water cannons or blocking tactics might not work this time.

    REPLY:
    You are dreaming. The US will never defend the Philippines against China. PNoy is really an Abnoy for believing so.

  3. Pete Gabriel on

    Nuke the Communist Chinese! That is the only diplomacy they will understand.

    • And that’s why you’re an accounts payable clerk and not a diplomat. Joke lang po, accounts receivable clerk po naman.

  4. sonny dela cruz on

    The United States is getting a “SOLID ANSWER” from China for making them an ECONOMIC AND MILITARY strong nation. China had said that their ownership of the disputed islets are “SOLID AS A ROCK”. This a strong message to the United States that you can’t do anymore to stop us, a “SLAP ON THE FACE”. I now believe what the Chinese General said some few years ago, I quote ‘THAT WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF THE UNITED STATES. WE CAN GO TO WAR AGAINST THEM ANYTIME”. The United States should draw-up plans to contain the “ARROGANCE” of China towards the stability not only the ASIA-PACIFIC REGION BUT THE WHOLE WORLD. The world economy is in shamble because of China’s manipulation of the currency and the world market. Europe is more suffering from this economic manipulation that also impacted the American economy’s.growth and stability. China has already laid their cards on the table, now its the United States turn to call.

    • sonny dela cruz on

      Let the United States know that “DIPLOMACY” will never work with China, there is only one alternative to the situation, Send an “ARMADA OF NAVY SHIPS & THE AIRCRAFTS in the region and patrol the International sea lanes and the air space above it. Demand for an on-site inspection of the reclaimed islets for possible installation of “MISSILE SILOS” that will favor China in the balance of power in the ASIA-PACIFIC region.

  5. There is a time that talking should stop and action should prevail. US has been regarding as weakling since this current US administration took over. The seat of a US president is too big for Obama to occupy or claim.

    Stop talking and start sending signal to the Chinese. If the US president cannot make such decision for whatever reason, he should step aside as the president of the most powerful nation in the World and let other capable people run the nation. I guess the world will be much safer now if McCain is the US president.Imagine the ISIS is now at the door step of USA.

    This is what you get from a NATO president (NO ACTION TALK ONLY). Let other people lead this great nation. Sad to say, He can cannot even say that the US was built by our forefathers,because he is a migrant. I think he wont understand that. word.