China rebukes U.S. official over maritime patrol proposal
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 20:19, March 20, 2015
BEIJING, March 20 -- China on Friday rebuked a U.S. navy officer over his suggestions that the Southeast Asian nations should jointly build a maritime force to patrol areas of contested sovereignty in the South China Sea and that his fleet would provide support.
'We hope the United States will strictly honor its commitment of not taking positions or sides on territorial sovereignty issues,' said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei in response to the reported remarks by Robert Thomas, commander of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet.
Hong said Thomas' remarks 'will by no means help resolve the South China Sea disputes properly or contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea'.
He said that it is China's long-standing commitment to resolve the disputes in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations with the countries directly concerned.
According to the spokesperson, China and the ASEAN have proposed a joint initiative in which they will safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea independently of other nations.
He urged the U.S. side not to make irresponsible remarks any longer and instead do more that are conducive to boosting mutual trust and regional peace and stability.
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