China vows ‘decisive’ response to South China Sea provocations

July 14, 2016 5:48 pm

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang ©AFP

has pledged to give a
decisive response to any provocations in the South China Sea, after an
international tribunal declared invalid Beijing’s claims to the disputed
waters.

“If anyone wants to take any
provocative action against China’s security interests based on the
award, China will make a decisive response,” Foreign Ministry spokesman
Lu Kang said in Beijing on Thursday. 

Beijing claims
nearly all of the strategically vital South China Sea, which is also
claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the
Philippines. The contested waters are believed to be rich in oil and
gas.
On Tuesday, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
ruled against China and sided with the Philippines in a case brought by
the latter.
The court ruled that China’s expansive claim to
sovereignty over the waters or its resources had no legal basis and
accused Beijing of violating the Philippines’ economic and sovereign
rights.

This
aerial image taken from a C-130 transport plane shows a general view of
Taiping Island during a visit by journalists to the island, in South
China Sea on March 23, 2016. ©AFPChina has
rejected the judgment, saying its “territorial sovereignty and marine
rights” in the seas would not be affected by the ruling.
On
Wednesday, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin described the
ruling as waste paper, emphasizing that his country had “the right” to
establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China
Sea.
The Chinese official also warned that the US and its regional allies not to “turn the South China Sea into a cradle of war”.
Cui
Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the US, also said that the ruling by
The Hague-based tribunal will “certainly intensify conflicts and even
confrontation.”
The dispute has at times drawn in extra-regional countries, particularly the US.
China accuses the US of interfering in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
Washington,
in turn, accuses Beijing of carrying out what it calls a land
reclamation program in the South China Sea by constructing artificial
islands in the disputed areas.
Senior officials in Beijing have
reiterated that they are still committed to dialogue with other parties
to the long-running row over the South China Sea.

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