World / Asia-Pacific

ASEAN FMs express "serious concern" over S China Sea issue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-10 19:19

NAY PYI TAW - ASEAN foreign ministers on Saturday expressed "serious concerns" over the ongoing development in the South China Sea, which have increased tensions in the area, said a statement issued here.

The foreign ministers urged all parties concerned to exercise self-constraint and avoid actions which could undermine peace and stability in the area, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means without resorting to threat or use of force.

The foreign ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability, maritime security, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea as well as ASEAN's Six Point Principles on the South China Sea and the Joint Statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit on the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

They also called on all parties to the DOC "to undertake full and effective implementation of the DOC in order to create an environment of mutual trust and confidence."

The foreign ministers stressed the need for "expeditiously working towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated Friday that the Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China and there are no disputes in this area.

The waters of China's drilling operations is only 17 nautical miles away from China's Xisha Islands, she said, adding that it is about 150 nautical miles away from Vietnam.

Chinese company's operation in waters off the Xisha Islands completely falls within China's sovereignty, she said, noting that it is untenable for any country to thwart China's normal oil drilling in its territorial waters and make irresponsible remarks.

From May 3 to 7, Vietnam had dispatched 36 vessels of various kinds which rammed Chinese vessels for as much as 171 times.

The Chinese vessels at the scene are only government vessels and civil vessels, but the Vietnamese side has many armed vessels deployed to the scene, according to Yi Xianliang, deputy director- general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry.

In the course of collision, the Chinese side also found frogmen sent by the Vietnamese side 5 meters away from the Chinese government vessels, Yi said, adding that the Vietnamese side also placed many fishing nets and large obstacles in the waters, not only posing security threats to Chinese vessels and facilities, but also jeopardizing normal navigation security.

Hua Chunying said that Vietnam's actions have violated the international laws, infringed on China's sovereignty and jurisdiction, and endangered navigation freedom.

On Wednesday, the Philippine police detained 11 Chinese fishermen nearby China's Half Moon Shoal in the South China Sea.

Hua reiterated Friday that China has undisputable sovereign rights over Nansha Islands, including the Half Moon Shoal.

China has demanded the Philippines "immediately" release detained fishermen and the boat, said Hua, warning the Philippine side to "take no more provocative action."

Actions taken by the Philippines in the territory within China' s sovereignty scope are illegal and invalid, and China reserves the rights to take further action, Hua said.


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