News / Asia

    China: US Remarks About Territorial Claims Irresponsible

    FILE - Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing, China. (file photo)
    FILE - Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing, China. (file photo)
    China says that remarks made earlier this week by a U.S. top official about its maritime disputes are groundless and irresponsible. East Asia envoy Daniel Russel had raised concerns about China's assertive stance with its neighbors and questioned the legality of China's territorial claims.

    China’s claims to maritime territory in the East and South China Seas have raised tensions with its neighbors, in particular Japan and the Philippines.

    This week U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, Daniel Russel, told a Congressional hearing in Washington that China is increasingly assertive in trying to gain control over oceans in the region.

    On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Russel's remarks were unfounded.

    He says it is extremely irresponsible of the relevant U.S. official to make groundless accusations against China based on rumors and without checking the facts.

    Russel also said that China's claims in the South China Sea are not complying with international law. He said that although the United States does not take sides in territorial disputes, Beijing should clarify its claims.

    Sam Bateman, a maritime security analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore says Russel's statements were unnecessarily provocative.

    “The only way you can read them is that the U.S. is taking a position on the claims. China's claims are not very good ipso facto the claims by other countries are better,” he said.

    China claims sovereignty over islands and waters in the South China Sea delineated by the so-called 'nine dash line,' a demarcation that Beijing submitted to the United Nations in 2009. The area is rich in oil and natural gas, and covers territory also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

    Russel said that China falls short on international law because its claims are not determined on land features, such as a nation's coastline or its islands.

    Bateman says Russel's remark show a lack of understanding of what the "nine dash line" is.

    “It's loose geographical shorthand to say we claim islands and features, it is not actually questioning other countries who have establish exclusive economic zones inside the nine dash line, or indeed have maritime boundaries with their neighbor.”

    China's claims refer to historical fishing routes that Beijing says date back to the fifteen century. Bateman says there is some legal merit to the argument.

    “Those sort of traditional fishing rights do have some sort of basis in international law, although China cannot really just assert them without some discussion with the countries concerned,” he said.

    Tensions have flared up in the East and South China sea after territorial rows led to occasional spats between fishing and exploration boats.

    China has asserted its sovereignty by creating new restrictions on fishing routes in the South China Sea as well as declaring an air defense identification zone over islands disputed with Japan.

    This week, the Philippines president compared giving in to China’s claims in the South China Sea, to territorial concessions to Nazi Germany before the start of World War 2.  China’s state news agency called the comments a disgrace.

    On Wednesday Russel warned of a “serious downturn” in China-Japan relations, and urged the two countries to use diplomatic means to manage their problems.

    The Obama administration has tried to refocus its foreign policy on Asia, saying America needs to strengthen its influence in the Asia Pacific region.

    But in China, Obama's efforts are viewed as a strategy of containment, especially when they touch on territorial disputes that China prefers to discuss bilaterally.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Curtis
    February 08, 2014 10:49 PM
    In terms of South Chinese Sea, as early as 1958, Chinese government declared that the Nine-dotted line is to be effective and then there was no argument over this declaration from other South-Eastern Asian Countries. Why do Americans deliberately neglect that period of history? Why don't Americans read about Nine-dotted line in Wikipedia?

    by: Frank from: O.County, USA
    February 08, 2014 9:56 PM
    Why does China try to invade other countries' territories and rob them of natural resources and fishery resources? China must learn international laws, or ethics and manners at first. China must pay money for other counties resources and estates.
    In Response

    by: James Whale from: Australia
    February 11, 2014 2:42 AM
    Isn't that what America does?? Invading other countries, stealing natural resources?? Maybe China is learning from America!

    by: Richard Att from: USA
    February 08, 2014 6:53 PM
    China is in disputes with several Asian countries. In all cases China refuses to take the issues to the ICJ or attempt to resolve them through any legal means, preferring to use intimidation, harassment and force to get it's way. Why then is Sam Bateman, a maritime security analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, going on about the "legal" merit's of China's position? Seems pretty silly, yes?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora