China points to ‘outsider’ for sowing discord in South China Sea

Beijing says South China Sea ‘is not and should not become a battleground for big powers’

ANKARA (AA) – China on Wednesday pointed to an “outsider” as the cause of trouble in the disputed South China Sea.

“Thanks to joint efforts of China and ASEAN, situation in the South China Sea has remained generally stable with freedom of navigation and overflight well protected by law,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a twitter statement, referring to Association of South East Asian Nations.

The statement came as ASEAN holds a Foreign Ministers level summit, along with China and two other nations.

“But some country outside the region is trying to wreak havoc by meddling in maritime disputes and sowing discord among regional countries,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It added that the South China Sea “is not and should not become a battleground for big powers.”

The South China Sea is claimed by Beijing and several other regional countries, while the continuing US naval operations in the Taiwan Strait, part of the disputed sea, have angered China.

China’s assertions are based on its “nine-dash line” — purple dashes on official Chinese maps that denote Beijing’s historical claims in the sea.

According to a recent study, the US surveyed the disputed South China Sea “on an almost daily basis” in the first half of the year.

“AIS (Automatic Identification System) data reveals that the US has been successively deploying all of its 5 ocean surveillance ships into the sensitive waters of the South China Sea on an almost daily basis, in the first half of 2021,” said the Beijing-based South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI).

Last month, a Special ASEAN-US Foreign Ministerial Meeting was held, with Washington reaffirming its stance against Beijing’s attempt to dominate the South China Sea.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken underscored the US’ rejection of China’s unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea and reiterated that the US stands with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of Beijing’s coercion, read a US State Department statement.

Early in April, a SCSPI report said the US military’s close-in reconnaissance on China in the South China Sea has seen a “sharp increase” in frequency, intensity, and pertinence since 2009.

Meanwhile, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the ASEAN 10+3 foreign ministers meeting that China provided the world with more than 750 million vaccine doses.

“We hope all parties will uphold a scientific, fair and objective position, reject politicization of virus origin study, keep ‘political virus’ at bay and work together to safeguard global public health,” Wang told the meeting, referring to demands by the Western countries for a second investigation into origins of the coronavirus.


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