China’s re­sponse to dis­pute could have neg­a­tive ef­fect: scholar

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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