China, U.S. square off on South China Sea

May 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM
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MANILA, Philippines, May 29 (UPI) -- China has expressed concern over comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding ownership of islands in the South China Sea.

Clinton recently discussed maritime demarcation issues surrounding contested archipelagos in the South China Sea and China observed that the remarks may have exceeded the precepts embedded in the 1982 the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Manila Bulletin reported Tuesday.

Clinton testified in support of congressional approval of the Law of the Sea Convention, which would put the United States in a stronger position to support countries "being threatened" by Chinese claims to certain islands.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei issued a statement through the Chinese Embassy in Manila, stating: "We have noticed the related reports and we express concern over this. To our knowledge, on the issue of the South China Sea, non-claimant Association of South East Asian Nations countries and countries outside the region have adopted a position of not getting involved into territorial disputes.

"On this important prerequisite and foundation, the Chinese side has consistently committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea region by means such as negotiating and signing with ASEAN countries the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, in parallel with our efforts to pursue dispute settlement through negotiations with countries directly concerned."

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