‘South China Sea shouldn’t become problem between China and US’

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2016 23:02 IST
A Chinese flag and a satellite dish are prominently displayed in a structure built by China in one of the islands in the Spratlys in the South China Sea (Reauters File Photo)

The deployment of missiles in South China Sea is no different from US deployments on the island of Hawaii, China said on Monday, ahead of foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Washington to meet Secretary of State John Kerry.

The US criticised China last week after it emerged that Beijing had deployed surface-to-air missile systems on a South China Sea island under its control but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

Beijing reacted sharply to Washington’s talk of “militarising” the maritime region, saying the dispute should be resolved by countries that are involved.

“The US is not involved in the South China Sea dispute, and this is not and should not become a problem between China and the US,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a news briefing on Monday.

Hua, according to official news agency Xinhua, criticised the US for stirring hype over the “militarisation” of South China Sea.

“The US side is misusing the concept. The deployment of defence facilities on China’s own territory is no different from what US does in Hawaii,” she said.

Hua said China’s construction on its islands in South China Sea was for civilian purposes and providing better international public goods. She added the deployment of limited defence measures is granted by international law to sovereign states, and has nothing to do with “militarisation”.

Responding to a question on UN sanctions against North Korea for its missile launches, Hua said, “China and the US are expected to exchange views on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue during Wang’s visit.”

The UN Security Council is discussing sanctions against North Korea over its recent nuclear test and a satellite launch using ballistic missile technology.

China supports the UN Security Council adopting a new and strong resolution against North Korea while urging relevant parties to avoid actions that could escalate tensions, Hua said.

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