Beijing, Sept 20: The President of United States, in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, implicitly warned Russia and China against their respective attempts to “undermine sovereignty” in the conflicted region of Ukraine and the resource-rich South China Sea.
The remarks of President Donald Trump irked Beijing, which issued a sharp rebuttal.
During the press briefing on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it is countries like US which pose threat to the sovereignty of nations in the South China Sea by assembling their warplanes and fleets in the vitally strategic water body.
“For some time now, some countries have used the pretext of freedom of navigation to bring their planes and fleets near the South China Sea,” the ministry’s spokesperson Lu Kang said.
“Actually, I think this is the behaviour that has threatened the sovereignty of South China Sea countries,” Lu was quoted as saying by AFP.
He further accused Washington of attempting to re-stoke the tensions in South China Sea, which has been lately “cooling off due to the efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).”
“I hope that this situation can be respected by relevant countries,” Lu added.
China, which has been accused by America and its allies in the Pacific of attempting to exhibit near about total control in the South China Sea, was subjected to open criticism by Trump at UNGA on Tuesday.
“We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea,” Trump had said, adding, “We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”
China, for long, has maintained that the tensions prevailing in South China Sea should be diffused by nations belonging to the region. It has opposed the role being played by United States, calling it an outsider which is attempting to create rift among the regional allies.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, while speaking at the ASEAN summit in July, blamed “non-regional forces”, in an apparent reference to US, for creating instability in the South China Sea. “They want to stir up trouble in the region. We need to stand together and say no to them,” he had said.