Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is committed to resolving issues related to the contested South China Sea region via peaceful negotiations.
China is committed to resolving issues related to the contested South China Sea region via peaceful negotiations, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
“The South China Sea islands have historically been China’s territory. China has a right to uphold its territorial integrity and lawful, legitimate maritime rights and interests. At the same time, we are committed to resolving the disputes through dialogue and negotiation in a peaceful way,” Wang told a joint press conference with US State Secretary John Kerry on Tuesday.
Wang stressed that the territorial dispute was not an issue between China and the United States, and should not become one.
The area of the Spratly Islands — a group of over 750 islands and reefs that are believed to hold significant oil and gas reserves — is disputed by China and a number of regional countries. Countries laying claim to the islands say they serve as an important commercial shipping route.
In recent weeks, the United States and Taiwan have warned that China has deployed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island in the Parcel chain in the South China Sea. The deployment marked the latest step in China’s military buildup in the Parcel and Spratly archipelagos, where at least six nations have overlapping territorial claims.
China, however, argues that both island chains are its sovereign territory, a claim that Washington has aggressively challenged by conducting so-called freedom of navigation exercises in which US warships deliberately pass within 12 miles of Chinese held islands.