The Chinese government said the United States (US) is not being constructive in its comments on Beijing’s actions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Washington is seemingly undermining the peace and development of the region, which has fast become a hotbed of territorial issues in the past two years.
“These actions are not constructive,” Lei said.
“We urge the US to hold a rational and fair attitude, so as to have a constructive role in the peace and development of the region, and not the opposite,” he added.
Danny Russel, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told a congressional testimony last week that the US had “growing concerns” that China’s maritime claims were an effort to gain full control of oceans in the region.
He added that China’s claims had “created uncertainty, insecurity, and instability.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also warned the international community of China’s plan to establish an air defense identification zone in the West Philippine Sea, similar to what it established over the East China Sea—a group of small and uninhabited islands being claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing.
This prompted President Benigno Aquino 3rd to compare China to the appeasement of German Nazi during World War II, which earned the ire of Chinese media Xinhua.
China’s increasing aggressiveness is a subject of international concern primarily because the region, which is home to $5 trillion worth of yearly global trade, is being seen as the biggest potential source of armed conflict.
The Philippines, being one of the claimant countries in the resource-rich region together with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei Darussalam, brought the dispute before the United Nations-backed International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea.
Its invitation to Beijing to join the arbitration process was rejected, however, since the Asian economic powerhouse wants to negotiate bilaterally with the claimant countries.