China’s response to dispute could have negative effect: scholar
A Chinese representative’s strongly worded response to the South China Sea dispute at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore Sunday could have a negative effect on the issue, a Taiwanese scholar said that day.
China has tried to present itself as a peaceful country in previous talks, but its representative uttered some strong words at the conference, which came as a surprise, said Huang Chieh-cheng ( ), an assistant professor at Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies.
Speaking at the annual meeting, Adm. Sun Jianguo ( ), the deputy chief of the general staff in the People's Liberation Army, rejected a demand by the United States that it stop its land reclamation work in the South China Sea.
China is “convinced by rea- son” and “does not succumb to hegemony,” Sun said, criticizing the United States for pointing an accusatory finger at China for its construction of artificial islands in a disputed area of the South China Sea.
Sun's remarks came a day after U. S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter criticized China's land reclamation in the South China Sea at the conference and urged all claimants to stop such practices.
“Turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit,” Carter said.
hina has not been forthcoming about the purpose and function of the artificial islands, deepening the concerns of other nations, Huang said.
He said the South China Sea dispute could be resolved by al- lowing an independent third party to invite all claimants to engage in multilateral talks to enhance mutual understanding and reduce mistrust and misjudgment.
Meanwhile, Huang said, even though Carter's remarks were aimed at China, they will also greatly restrict Taiwan, which is expanding its facilities on Taiping Island, the biggest Taiwancontrolled island in the contested South China Sea.