PRC dis­misses Filipino leader’s warn­ings

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

Main­land China au­thor­i­ties on Wed­nes­day dis­missed as “ground­less” Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino’s warn­ing to AFP that the Asian gi­ant’s ac­tions in the South China Sea should “en­gen­der fear for the rest of the world.”

Aquino made his re­marks in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view on Tues­day, say­ing that main­land China’s in­creas­ing bold as­ser­tions of its ter­ri­to­rial claims could cut ac­cess for other na­tions to vi­tal in­ter­na­tional ship­ping lanes and rich fish­ing grounds in the sea.

The main­land’s for­eign min­istry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular brief­ing: “The rel­e­vant ac­cu­sa­tions by the Philip­pines are ground­less.”

Main­land China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, us­ing vague de­mar- cation lines that first ap­peared on Chi­nese maps in the 1940s, lock­ing it into ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with sev­eral of its neigh­bors.

Asked to as­sess re­cent Chi­nese gov­ern­ment moves, Aquino said: “Does it en­gen­der fear? Yes, I think it should en­gen­der fear for the rest of the world.”

“The ques­tion of it es­ca­lat­ing to some­thing be­yond every­body’s con­trol should be at the top of the minds of all world lead­ers,” he added.

Us­ing t he Chi­nese name for the Spratlys, where satel­lite im­agery shows Bei­jing has re­cently con­structed ar­ti­fi­cial is­lands, run­ways and man- made har­bors, Hong said: “The Philip­pines’ ter­ri­tory has never cov­ered the Nan­sha is­lands.

“We urge the Philip­pines to re­spect China’s ter­ri­to­rial sover- eignty,” he added.

Hong said that Bei­jing fa­vored the res­o­lu­tion of ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes through “ne­go­ti­a­tion with coun­tries di­rectly con­cerned, based on re­spect for his­tor­i­cal facts.”

He added that Chi­nese con­struc­tion “does not im­pact or tar­get any other coun­tries, or threaten the se­cu­rity of in­ter­na­tional ship­ping lanes and fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The U. S. has weighed in on China’s projects, with a State Depart­ment spokesman say­ing the re­claimed land was “fu­elling greater anx­i­ety within the re­gion” and might be­come “mil­i­ta­rized.”

U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama warned last week that Bei­jing should not “el­bow aside” coun­tries it is in dis­pute with in the South China Sea.

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