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China demands ASEAN neutrality over South China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-19 18:06

BEIJING - A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not to take sides in the South China Sea row stoked by Vietnamese provocations.

China demands ASEAN neutrality over South China Sea
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea
Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily news briefing on Monday, when commenting on the ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh's recent words concerning the matter, which China is strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to.

Le claimed that China has encroached upon Vietnam's territorial integrity, and violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Hong said the current dispute is not a matter between China and the ASEAN. However, Le has taken sides to advocate a certain country's claims, sending out wrong signals, regardless of facts or the ASEAN's position.

He added such actions are not something the secretary-general of the ASEAN should do, and are also detrimental to the development of China-ASEAN ties.

The maritime row between China and Vietnam has arisen because the Vietnamese side mobilized ships to forcibly disrupt China's normal operations on its offshore oil rig, Hong said, adding the incidents not only jeopardized China's sovereignty and maritime rights, but also undermined maritime peace, stability and order.

China demands the ASEAN to detach itself from the disputes, and to safeguard China-ASEAN ties with concrete actions, Hong said.

Central and southern Vietnamese provinces witnessed a spate of violent protests against foreign companies last week, which left at least two Chinese dead and more than 100 injured.

The protests, lootings and arson attacks came after Vietnamese ships and personnel repeatedly harassed the normal operations of a Chinese oil company in waters surrounding China's territorial Xisha Islands.

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