BEIJING — A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on June 23 that the South China Sea issue is not and should not be one between China and the United States.
Spokesman Lu Kang made the remarks while responding to a question on recent comments of Daniel Russell, assistant US secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs. Russell said the United States has “an unwavering determination” to avoid military confrontation with countries in the South China Sea, including China.
It is not an issue between the United States and China, but between China and some ASEAN members, Russell told a media briefing, while calling on China to stop militarizing outposts in the South China Sea.
“We have noticed Assistant Secretary of State Russell’s comments, and we have been stressing to the US side the South China Sea issue is not and should not be an issue between the two countries,” Lu said.
China has several times stated its position on land reclamation on some territorial islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands, Lu said.
He said China agrees with the United States on closer bilateral cooperation in countering various global issues.
Hailing the fruitful cooperation and high interdependence between the two stakeholders, Lu said it is inevitable that both sides sometimes have different views or disputes as their interests increasingly overlap.
The development history of China-US relationship shows that their cooperation far outweighs disputes, said the spokesman.
“Both sides have reached a consensus on expanding dialogue and communication and controlling disputes, in order to focus on win-win cooperation and jointly addressing global challenges,” Lu said.
China and the United States are set to start annual high-level talks in Washington DC on June 23, namely, the seventh China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the sixth China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.
“We expect the talks will show to the world the positive achievements of China-US relations,” said the spokesman.