China / Government

China urges ASEAN to stay neutral on South China Sea issue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-11 18:56

BEIJING - China on Wednesday refuted ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh's recent accusation that China had complicated the situation in the South China Sea, saying the comments departed from the neutral role that the ASEAN Secretariat should play.

"Mr. Le Luong Minh has repeatedly made biased comments on the issue of the South China Sea, which were untrue and incompatible with his capacity as ASEAN secretary-general," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at a routine press briefing.

In an interview with the Manila Times, Le Luong Minh said China's nine-dash line policy was "not binding", adding China's expansion and "illegal occupation" of islands affected the status quo and complicated the situation.

"China has abundant historical and legal evidence in its sovereignty and claims in the South China Sea," Hong said, adding the country's position on the issue was clear and consistent.

China supports the building of ASEAN community, Hong said, however, ASEAN is not a concerned party in the South China Sea dispute, he added.

"ASEAN belongs to the ASEAN family not a certain country," he said, adding Le's comments had damaged ASEAN's image as a regional organization.

"We advise Mr. Le Luong Minh do his part as ASEAN secretary-general, stick to ASEAN's neutrality on the South China Sea issue, and do more to promote the healthy development of China-ASEAN relations," said the spokesperson.

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