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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs