South China Sea on agenda at annual China-US dialogue
BEIJING—Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of States John Kerry will discuss the South China Sea issue at an annual dialogue next week, an official said Thursday.
Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang made the remarks at a forum on the eighth China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which will be held in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday. “The Chinese and U.S. sides will exchange candid, in-depth views on important and sensitive issues of shared concern,” said Zheng.
Zheng underscored that the South China Sea islands have been China’s territory since ancient times, adding that China is entitled to safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights.
“We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, and mak- ing continuous efforts to control differences through dialogue and solve problems peacefully through negotiation and consultation,” said the vice foreign minister.
Zheng said the United States, which is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes, has pledged not to take sides on issues involving territorial sovereignty.
“We hope the U.S. side will keep its promise,” Zheng said, urging the United States to make judgements in accordance with facts rather than favoring its allies.
“I believe the United States can play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and helping cool down the issue — if the country can honor its word and stop all provocative moves aimed at China’s sovereignty and security interests,” said the Chinese official.