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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs