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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Beijing responds to Sean Spicer's South China Sea remarks

China responded immediately to remarks made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding Beijing's interests in the South China Sea, claiming "indisputable sovereignty" over artificial islands in the region.


During his first official briefing on Monday, Spicer said the United States would defend its interests in the South China Sea, in the international waters where China has been building the islands to take control of shipping routes.

"If those islands are, in fact, in international waters and not part of China proper, yeah, we'll make sure we defend international interests from being taken over by one country," Spicer said.

But on Tuesday Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China preserves freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as well as peace and stability in the area, according to state-owned news agency Xinhua.

China's position on the South China Sea issue is clear-cut, consistent, and unchanged, Hua said, adding the United States should "speak and act cautiously" on the matter, according to Xinhua.

The Chinese government and state news media have remained on the defensive since the political transition period for U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Jan. 13, the Global Times accused new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "rabble rousing" after he condemned the island buildup in the South China Sea.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson suggested the United States could block China's access to the islands, which the Chinese state tabloid said would be an "illegal act" that could lead to a major military conflict.

"Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish," the Global Times editorial read.
  [upi.com]
24/1/17
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