China ex­er­cises will ‘fur­ther desta­bilise’ S. China Sea: US

The Asian Age - - World -

Wash­ing­ton, July 3: The Pen­tagon said on Thurs­day it was “con­cerned” about Chi­nese mil­i­tary ex­er­cises around a dis­puted ar­chi­pel­ago in the South China Sea, not­ing the ma­neu­vers will “fur­ther desta­bilise” the re­gion.

“The Depart­ment of De­fense is con­cerned about the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China (PRC) de­ci­sion to con­duct mil­i­tary ex­er­cises around the Para­cel Is­lands in the South China Sea on July 1-5,” the Pen­tagon said in a state­ment.

The ac­tiv­i­ties “fur­ther desta­bi­lize the sit­u­a­tion” in the area claimed by China, Viet­nam and Tai­wan, it said. Such ex­er­cises also vi­o­late Beijing’s “com­mit­ments un­der the 2002 Dec­la­ra­tion on the

Con­duct of Par­ties in the South China Sea to avoid ac­tiv­i­ties that would com­pli­cate or es­ca­late dis­putes and af­fect peace and sta­bil­ity.”

The dec­la­ra­tion, signed by the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) coun­tries, said that all par­ties would “avoid ac­tiv­i­ties that would com­pli­cate or es­ca­late dis­putes and af­fect peace and sta­bil­ity.” The ex­er­cises “are the lat­est in a long string” of Chi­nese ac­tions “to as­sert un­law­ful mar­itime claims and dis­ad­van­tage its South­east Asian neigh­bors in the South China Sea.” The Pen­tagon urged “all par­ties to ex­er­cise re­straint and not un­der­take mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties that might ag­gra­vate dis­putes” in the re­gion, and said it will con­tinue to mon­i­tor Chi­nese mil­i­tary ac­tiv­ity.

The Chi­nese ex­er­cises are tak­ing place amid a rise in US-China ten­sions over the Coro­n­avirus pan­demic, in which Wash­ing­ton has ac­cused Beijing of hid­ing and down­play­ing the ini­tial out­break in the Chi­nese city of Wuhan. — AFP

● THE PHILIP­PINE for­eign sec­re­tary Teodoro Loc­sin Jr warned China on Fri­day of “the sever­est re­sponse” if on­go­ing Chi­nese mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in the dis­puted South China Sea spill over to Philip­pine ter­ri­tory.

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