China slams US over South China Sea surveillance flight
Iran Press TV
Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:6PM
China has censured the United States for a surveillance flight over the disputed waters of the South China Sea, urging Washington to avoid taking sides over the territorial row in the region.
The Chinese Defense Ministry issued a statement on Monday, 'We hope the US will abide by its promise not to take sides over South China Sea issues.'
The statement was made public by the state-owned Global Times newspaper.
The Chinese ministry called on Washington to 'take more actions to promote peace and stability, and not the opposite.'
The statement came on the same day that Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift said he had been aboard a seven-hour flight of a Boeing P-8 surveillance plane over the disputed area on July 18, without providing further details.
The Chinese ministry also said US military ships and aircraft had been carrying out 'frequent, widespread, close-in surveillance of China, seriously harming bilateral mutual trust and China's security interests, which could easily cause an accident at sea or in the air.'
The statement made clear that China is 'resolutely opposed' to surveillance flights over the disputed waters.
Beijing claims most of the South China Sea. However, some of the territory overlaps with areas claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei.
As the conflict continues, the Philippines has moved to improve its defense ties with the United States. Last week, Manila decided to reopen a US naval base in Subic Bay, which had been closed for over two decades.
Washington does not recognize China's sovereignty in the disputed region.
The US accuses China of undergoing a massive 'land reclamation' program in the South China Sea, and says Beijing's territorial claims of an archipelago of man-made islands in the region could further militarize that area.
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