MANILA, Philippines - Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao disclosed that China has expressed displeasure and rejects the involvement of the United States in the South China Sea dispute that should be limited to countries with claims over the territorial waters and the disputed Spratly Islands.
Liu told a forum at the Chinese embassy yesterday that concerns over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea are “no excuse” by any third party like the US for interfering in the dispute.
“The maritime route is open. It is free and it is safe but it is no excuse for any third party involvement (on) the excuse of maintaining the safety and freedom of maritime transportation,” Liu said.
Washington has been pushing for a multilateral resolution to the South Chin Sea issue.
China is hosting a working group meeting between China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members on the follow-up measures in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea from Dec. 22 to 24 in Kunming , Yunnan province.
The ASEAN and China agreed to a Code of Conduct to reduce the tension and peacefully resolve claims over the South China Sea and improve the general political climate in the disputed islands .
Liu said China would propose during the meeting the exclusion of a third party in the dispute.
“That has always been our position because the dispute between China and the relevant countries in this region is an issue between China and the countries so we have the wisdom and courage to get the dispute settled sooner or later,” Liu said.
He emphasized that the involvement of a third party will only complicate the issues and result in an undesirable outcome for the disputing parties.
“At the end of the day this issue is a bilateral issue. That is an issue between China and the Philippines, and an issue between China and Vietnam. So with the position that we settle this dispute on a bilateral basis, I am sure with sincerity and in spirit of cooperation and seeking constructive settlement to the dispute we can make it,” he said.
Beijing is hopeful to have positive response from the countries that have claims over the territorial waters, he said.
Liu said that claimant countries are in the position to take all the necessary measures in making sure that the Nansha and the SouthChinaSea remain a peaceful and stable place.
Liu said all the parties will have various and candid discussions on their concerns.
“I hope positive outcome will be achieved and understanding will be enhanced,” he said.
He said all the parties should adhere to the DOC, which is in the region’s interest to make it more specific, more effective and efficient in preserving peace and stability.
“China is working with the countries in the ASEAN for enhanced measures in preserving peace and stability so that exactly is the purpose and objective of the working group meeting,” Liu said.
China has called for limiting the discussions over the South China Sea dispute to the claimant countries only.
He said the South China Sea remains peaceful and safe but “unfortunately this was brought up in a very negative manner.”
Liu opposed any involvement and display of leadership role by a third party in the South China Sea claims as he warned that it might “magnify” the issue and make the dispute more complicated and difficult to settle.
He said “the US after all is not a party. It is not a claimant party to anything.”
He pointed out that navigation security and navigation freedom have always been upheld in the South China Sea.
Liu said Beijing wants to have cooperation, joint development and exploration in the South China Sea and cooperation in all areas.