U.S. should honor commitment of taking no sides on Asian-Pacific maritime disputes: Chinese envoy
                 English.news.cn | 2014-04-05 14:50:05 | Editor: An

WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese diplomat on Friday urged the United States to faithfully honor its commitment of taking no sides on maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific and refrain from emboldening certain countries to make further provocations.

Wu Xi, minister of the Chinese Embassy, made the remarks when delivering a speech at George Mason University in Virginia on building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States.

She was reacting to statements by some U.S. officials, who groundlessly criticized China for taking "provocative and destabilizing" actions in the South China Sea and compared the situation there with the crisis in Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous region that has recently joined Russia.

Last Saturday, a Philippine ship slipped past the blockade by Chinese Coast Guard vessels and reached the Ren'ai Reef, historically a part of Chinese territory, to deliver supplies to soldiers on a grounded Philippine warship.

Wu pointed out that maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region serves the common interests of China, the United States and other regional countries.

"Issues such as the East China Sea and the South China Sea concern China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We hope the U.S. will approach relevant issues in an objective, just, and balanced way," she said.

The diplomat chided Washington for sending out "misleading messages" by failing to honor its promise not to take a position on sovereignty issues through siding with the Philippines over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

She also criticized the United States for turning a blind eye to the provisions clearly stated in the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), reached by China and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) in 2002, and fabricating ones that are not in the document.

"There's not a single word (in the DOC) that permits replenishment or building facilities on illegally occupied islands and reefs. The DOC makes it clear that disputes concerning territory and sovereignty should be solved peacefully through friendly negotiations and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned," Wu said.

"If the U.S. sincerely wants to safeguard peace and stability in the region, it should faithfully honor its commitment of not taking sides on sovereignty issues. In particular, the U.S. side should stop making irresponsible remarks, and avoid" emboldening some countries to make further provocations.

At the same time, Wu hailed the "great achievements" in the China-U.S. ties since last June's historic summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama at the Sunnylands estate in California.

The agreement reached by the two leaders on working together to build a new model of major-country relationship "provides strategic direction and guidance" for the development of the bilateral ties, Wu said.

However, it needs concerted efforts by both sides to achieve the goal of building a new model of relationship, which is free from conflict or confrontation, based on mutual respect, and aimed at win-win cooperation, she said.

"China and the U.S. should keep up close high-level contacts, expand economic, trade and investment cooperation, increase military-to-military exchanges, carry out positive interaction in the Asia-Pacific, and enhance consultation and coordination on international and global issues," Wu added.

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