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People's Daily Online

South China Sea issue should not hinder China-U.S. ties

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 19:05, June 01, 2015

BEIJING, June 1 -- A series of actions and words by the United States are an overreaction on the South China Sea issue, which only lead to their international credibility being affected.

A U.S. anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft flew over waters off China's Nansha Islands last month. Onboard the aircraft was also a CNN team, which claimed they had been given permission by the Pentagon.

Clearly the United States wanted to play up China's island construction activities to portray it as a threat to regional stability.

Speaking on his way to Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for an end to island-building in the South China Sea, despite the fact that Beijing has repeatedly elaborated that China's construction on the islands, besides meeting necessary defense needs, mostly serves civil purposes.

For a long time, the South China Sea has maintained peace and stability with the freedom of navigation fully upheld. China's construction activities on the Nansha islands and reefs are entirely within China's sovereignty. They are lawful, justified and reasonable and do not affect or target any particular country.

China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea have been consistently upheld by successive Chinese governments and established over a long history, with ample historical and legal basis.

China's stand has been firm and clear: It will not want anything that does not belong to it, but it will ensure each inch of land it owns safe and sound.

Currently, China and ASEAN countries have identified a 'dual track' approach on the South China Sea, which calls for disputes to be resolved through negotiation and consultation between parties directly concerned and for China and ASEAN member states to work together to maintain peace and stability.

Progress has been made in consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and the COC is meant to be a set of rules for China and countries in the region rather than rules set by outsiders.

One thing for sure, the United States is not a party concerned with the South China Sea issue. Stirring up trouble in the region will only make it unpopular.

If unnecessary anxiety by the U.S. and oversensitivity to the South China Sea issue is developing to the severity that hurts the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region, it will run against the common aspiration of the people and countries of the Asia-Pacific region and be detrimental to the United States itself.

On the whole, the China-U.S. relationship is developing on a steady track, the stability brooks no disturbance or troublemaking. More importantly, both sides should properly handle disputes so as not to distract the overall direction of the bilateral ties. The world's most important bilateral relationship deserves to be cherished.

The South China Sea issue will not and should not become an obstacle of the China-U.S. ties. Washington should be aware of this and be discreet in its words and deeds.



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