China / Government

China refutes Philippine president's South China Sea accusation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-15 18:32

BEIJING - China on Wednesday said Philippine President Benigno Aquino's recent accusation that China is building on islands in the South China Sea was "unreasonable" and the Philippines' occupation was the root cause of disputes between the two countries.

"China's work on some islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands falls entirely within its sovereignty, which neither affects nor targets any nation, nor threatens international shipping routes nor fisheries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press briefing.

His comments came in response to a question regarding Aquino's recent interview with AFP when he said China's efforts to claim most of the South China Sea should spark fear around the world, with military conflict possible.

"In fact, China's Nansha Islands were never Philippine territory according to international treaties defining the country's territory," Hong said.

Since the 1970s, the Philippines has occupied some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands, he said.

"We urge the Philippines to respect China's sovereignty and its own commitment in bilateral documents and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," he said.

The spokesman also urged the Philippines to settle disputes through direct negotiations, and do more to help bilateral ties and regional peace and stability.

China's position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear, he said.

China is committed to jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea with ASEAN members, he added.

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