China denies U.S. accusation over South China Sea

World Today

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) — China on Tuesday denied that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had accused it of making “provocative” moves in the South China Sea during a phone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Foreign media, including Reuters, quoted U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as saying Kerry told Wang over the phone that China’s introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was “provocative.”

“In fact, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry made no such comments during the phone conversation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told Xinhua.

According to Hua, Kerry’s message during the phone talks was that the U.S. takes neither positions nor sides, and has no intention to make any judgment on the issue of territorial sovereignty.

The United States hopes all parties will properly handle the issue to maintain peace and stability in the region, Hua quoted Kerry as saying.

Wang briefed Kerry on the historical context, facts and China’s stance on issues regarding situations in the South China Sea and East China Sea, according to the spokeswoman.

Wang urged the U.S. side to hold an objective, just and fair view, honor its commitments, and speak and act cautiously, so as to avoid encouraging concerned parties to take provocative actions.

“There is indeed a country taking provocative actions in the South China Sea, but this country is not China,” Hua said at a regular briefing earlier on Tuesday.

Recently the United States has made mistaken comments regarding sea disputes, which have encouraged dangerous and provocative actions, she said.

“We expect the United States to reflect on its acts. If it indeed expects the Pacific Ocean to be pacific, it should think what role it can play in maintaining regional peace and stability,” Hua said.