China Counters US Senate Rebuke on South China Sea

Posted June 28th, 2011 at 6:10 am (UTC-5)
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China is brushing off a sharp rebuke from the U.S. Senate, saying the American lawmakers should look for better ways to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea.

At a foreign ministry briefing in Beijing Tuesday, spokesman Hong Lei said a unanimous resolution from the U.S. legislative body “doesn't hold water.” He reiterated China's position that only countries that are directly concerned should become involved in South China Sea disputes.

Monday's Senate resolution deplored what it called the “use of force” by Chinese naval vessels in the vital waterway. It also called for continued U.S. military action in defense of free navigation in the area.

Both Vietnam and the Philippines have complained of Chinese aggression in the sea, with Vietnam saying a Chinese patrol boat cut an exploration cable on an oil survey ship. Several countries bordering the sea object to China's claim to sovereignty over virtually the entire body of water.

The U.S. administration on Saturday called on China to ease the tensions through dialogue with its neighbors.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell discussed the issue with his Chinese counterpart Cui Tiankai at a meeting in Honolulu. He said the United States supports a strong role for Beijing, but added that China must ease regional concerns regarding its military expansion.

Both diplomats later said the talks were useful and positive, and they looked forward to future consultations.