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Chinese Vice FM Criticizes US Warship's South China Sea Intrusion
   2015-11-23 08:20:46    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Mao

On the sideline of ongoing regional meetings in Kuala lumpur, China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said US's intrusion into the South China Sea was a "political provocation" in the name of "freedom of navigation."

During a news conference on Sunday, Liu Zhenmin stressed that China always respected the freedom of navigation by other nations.

"China highly respects freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, so we hope regional and non-regional countries can provide constructive contributions to our efforts to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea. So they can sail freely on the sea but at the same time respect the countries in the region. Do not look for trouble but seek constructive cooperation."

In late October, the naval destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Zhubi Reef in the South China Sea without notifying the Chinese government.

This raised strong opposition from the Chinese side, as sailing within 12 nautical miles of a territory held by a different country is viewed internationally as a violation of territorial sovereignty.

The Chinese vice foreign minister expressed China's concerns about some countries' behavior in the South China Sea.

"The countries in the region should properly manage their military activity. Now we've seen some big countries from outside the region send their vessels and patrol ships to the South China Sea in the name of practicing their freedom of navigation. There are other big countries trying to strengthen their military cooperation with countries in this region, isn't this militarisation? We are concerned about that."

Earlier, US president Barack Obama said his country would continue to assert its freedom of navigation rights in the Sea, while calling on nations to stop militarising their claims.

However, Liu Zhenmin has defended China's rights to build military facilities as a protocol of national defence and as a way to protect the islands.



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