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Iran Press TV

China calls on US to respect Beijing's 'core interests'

Iran Press TV

Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:44AM

China has called on the United States to respect the East Asian country's principal "interests" and concerns, and refrain from what it terms as "shows of force" close to its islands in the South China Sea.

In a telephone conversation with his US counterpart John Kerry on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Washington needs to stop selling munitions to Taiwan and also put an end to its military patrols near the Spratly Islands, known as the Nansha Islands in Chinese.

The US says the islands are artificially constructed by China.

"As the US seeks cooperation with China, it ought to respect China's core interests and important matters of concern," the top Chinese diplomat said.

On Saturday, the Chinese Defense Ministry referred to a December 10 mission by two US B-52 bombers over the South China Sea, and accused the US of deliberately raising tensions in the region.

A Pentagon spokesman said on the same day that while the US conducts routine B-52 missions in the region to show its "commitment to fly, sail and operate anywhere allowed under international law," the December 10 mission had not been conducted with that purpose, suggesting that the flights may have been wrongly carried out.

Separately, last week, the United States announced an arms deal with Taiwan, which is worth nearly $2 billion. Under the deal, Taiwan will receive two navy frigates, amphibious assault vehicles and missiles, all built in the 1970s.

China voiced its opposition to the accord after the announcement, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned Washington's second-highest ranking diplomat in Beijing, Kaye Lee, and handed him a formal protest.

"The United States should be fully aware that the arms deal to Taiwan is highly sensitive and dangerous," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and has on different occasions asserted its sovereignty over the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims over the waters.

Washington has sided with China's rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

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