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Iran Press TV

China urges EU to 'stop sowing discord' in South China Sea

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 25 April 2021 9:02 AM

China has called on the European Union to refrain from sowing discord in the South China Sea following recent tensions in the Whitsun Reef that is disputed between China and the Philippines.

A spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the European Union said on Saturday that the outsiders and interference by major powers were the main source of destabilization in the region.

"Destabilizing factors and security risks in the South China Sea mainly come from outside the region," the Chinese official said.

The spokesperson pointed out that the Whitsun Reef was part of China's Nansha Islands which were used as a common fishing ground for Chinese fishermen, adding that the territorial disputes with neighboring countries should not be used as a tool against China for international rivalry.

"The South China Sea should not become a tool for certain countries to contain and suppress China, still less a wrestling ground for major-power rivalry," the spokesperson noted.

The comments came in response to a statement by the European Union spokesperson on Saturday, blaming China for endangering peace in the South China Sea.

The EU spokesperson said tensions in the South China Sea, including the recent presence of large Chinese vessels at Whitsun Reef, endangered peace and stability in the region.

The official urged both sides in the dispute to abide by a 2016 tribunal ruling under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which rejected most of China's claim to sovereignty in the sea.

China dismissed the ruling by the Hague-based tribunal over its disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to deploy military forces to the South China Sea to stop China from claiming natural resources in the contested waters.

Manila, which also claims sovereignty over parts of the sea, accuses China of scattering "maritime militia" inside the Philippines' 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at Whitsun Reef.

The US sides with China's opponents in the territorial dispute and regularly dispatches warships and warplanes to the South China Sea to conduct what it calls "freedom of navigation" patrols.

Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington "stands by its ally, the Philippines," against China.

US President Joe Biden has also called on US allies to mount pressure for a "coordinated approach" against China to stop its growing clout in the region.

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