News / Asia

    China to Clinton: No Question of Sovereignty Over South China Sea

    Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    China says there is no questioning its sovereignty over waters and islands in the South China Sea, some of which are claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and the Philippines. But Chinese officials told visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that they are willing to work with Southeast Asian nations to resolve the dispute peacefully.

    Secretary Clinton discussed the South China Sea disputes with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi Wednesday.

    China has been critical of outside involvement in the dispute, saying foreign governments are trying to divide the region. Speaking to reporters following their talks, Yang repeated China's insistence that this be resolved by the claimants themselves and made clear that China's position is unassailable.

    South China Sea Dispute MapSouth China Sea Dispute Map
    x
    South China Sea Dispute Map
    South China Sea Dispute Map
    The foreign minister says there is plentiful historic and legal evidence for China's sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and adjacent waters. As for disputes to those claims, he says these should be discussed by those directly concerned on the basis of respect for historic facts and international law, to be settled through "direct negotiation and friendly consultation."

    Yang says that the stance is in keeping with a 10-year old "declaration of conduct" between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

    But the United States believes a more specific "code of conduct" is the way to resolve competing territorial claims on which Secretary Clinton again insisted the Obama administration has no position.

    "Our interest is in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce. And as a friend to the countries involved, we do believe it is in everyone's interest that China and ASEAN engage in a diplomatic process toward the shared goal of a code of conduct."

    Foreign Minister Yang told Secretary Clinton in July that China will "eventually" agree to open talks with ASEAN members over such a code of conduct. He repeated that promise in Beijing.

    • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) autographs a sack of coffee beans with the flags of East Timor and the U.S. , at the Timor Coffee Cooperative in Dili September 6, 2012.
    • US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference in East Timor, Sept 6, 2012
    • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) shakes hands with staff members next to East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao (L) at the Prime Minister's office in Dili September 6, 2012.
    • Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, right, talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after attending a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    • Clinton shakes hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    • Clinton takes questions from the Chinese press during a joint press conference with her Chinese counterpart at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    • Clinton meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, September 5, 2012.
    • Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meets with Clinton in Beijing September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton waves as she departs Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono upon her arrival for a bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton meets with U.S. embassy staff and family members during a meet and greet in Jakarta, September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton speaks with ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, Jakarta, September 4, 2012.
    • Clinton talks to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa prior to their meeting in Jakarta, September 3, 2012.

    Yang says nowhere do Chinese and U.S. interests converge more closely than in the Asia-Pacific. At a moment when the international situation is undergoing what he calls "profound and complex changes" and prospects for a global economic recovery "are still quite grim," Yang says Beijing hopes to have a positive and pragmatic relationship with Washington.

    U.S. involvement in resolving the South China Sea dispute is complicated by Chinese wariness of the Obama administration's greater military and economic involvement in the region, it's so-called "Asia Pivot."

    As for U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific, Yang says China hopes Washington will make sure that it is conforming "with the trends of the current era" and the general wish of countries in the region to seek peace, development, and cooperation.

    Clinton says the United States is not taking sides and only wants to help.

    "I believe that with leadership and commitment, China and ASEAN can ramp-up their diplomacy. And the United States stands ready to support that process in any way that would be helpful to the parties," she said.

    She is hoping to have some guidelines for resolving the South China Sea dispute in place before November's East Asia Summit in Cambodia.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: frank from: C
    September 06, 2012 8:39 AM
    the USA always tell us whatever China have done,all their fault,China is very poor,CCP official corruption XXX,.we're brainwashed! I beg Americans come to liberate our citizens..uh..wait,what?free America first??? so who can saves us?
    In Response

    by: fromthemoon from: China
    September 07, 2012 10:31 AM
    China is just a developing country with lots of hardship and unsatisfying feathers now. But as an independent nation, China has its own just benefits after it has endured too much for decades. During those China-silent years, neighboring nations has robbed many islands in south china sea and east china sea belonging to china historically. Nowadays, China just want to resolve the sovereignty of those debatable islands with neighboring nations peacefully, just like USA which deemed to insert back into Asian-Pacific area from remote America, even more just than the latter.
    In Response

    by: FreedomSupporter from: USA
    September 06, 2012 10:39 AM
    China is a beautiful country, with 5000 years of rich history. It is not China I feel opposed to. It is the Chinese Communist Party who oppresses even its own people that I have compassion for. They truly do not know what they do to all of humanity and to the very consciousness of the universe. Love to you, Frank. Nothing but human-to-human love for you. Hardline repression and re-writing history so even China's own people do not know the truths .. is not the way to world peace. I hope you will also one day taste the sweetness of true freedom for yourself. I pray for it.

    by: moo m. from: usa
    September 06, 2012 7:33 AM
    china claims anything have the word china attached are its own ...like south china sea, east china sea, china lake in California (not yet), ... what a barbaric, arrogant, greedy country !
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    September 06, 2012 9:44 AM
    The chinese communist government has a scheme of planting their peoples & spies network all over the world . My friend in Brazil said it really already happened there, as well as other south america countries . Supposedly the same thing happens in Africa and Canada, Australia, Europe & our own USA as well

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    September 06, 2012 12:02 AM
    This is yet another example of PRC hegemonism. The South China Sea is an int'l body of water, not a Chinese lake. For the PRC to claim sovereignty over the entire sea is a violation of int'l law. The PRC is not the Middle Kingdom & all of Asia are not tributary states. I hope the US and other Asian nations will stand up to the PRC & say hands off the South China Sea.
    In Response

    by: moo m. from: usa
    September 06, 2012 9:35 PM
    the chinese government is rich, so rich that it becomes arrogant likes those newly rich bullies. It made china, the menace of the world !
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    September 06, 2012 10:03 AM
    This is a typical chinese behaviour. First they encroached other countries' land or sea , or they encouraged their citizens to migrated across the borders, then later claim these area are theirs. Other tactics they also used is pretend to help or claim of liberate the peoples such as the case of Tibet. They invaded & made the country Tibet a region of China .
    I pray that one day the Tibetans will be able to throw the chinese out as well as get rid of those communist who collaborate with the enemy and have Tibet nation for themselves .

    by: robert edelstein from: florida
    September 05, 2012 11:42 PM
    its all about oil. in 1991 my company (petrostar energy (usa) inc.) was awarded rights to drill for oil in the spratley region by hanoi. after millions spent and two years of my life finding financing we got a fax from cnooc (chinese national offshore oil co.) to "Cease and Desist" yep, its still all about the oil


    by: kirv from: New York
    September 05, 2012 10:24 PM
    There are hundreds of uninhabitaed islands in the South China Sea. China could be wise and just magnanimously agree to let the other countries each claim a couple of oil-rich islands or two and some territorial waters so that each gets something to make some money off of. They should just agree that all oil and gas development has to be by their own domestic companies, and not by underhanded British or American companies.
    In Response

    by: Tokyo Boy from: Japan
    September 10, 2012 8:50 AM
    xiaohai, PRC had already admitted Japanese sovereignty over Senkaku islands on May 20,1920 to Japanese. You don't know it.
    In Response

    by: moo m. from: usa
    September 07, 2012 7:57 AM
    xiaohai, is there any doubt in your mind, china government's the moon belongs to the USA ? The America set feet on it first. You want proof ? as far as china is concerned, everyone should have doubted it..what I've heard so far are lies, cheats, intimidations...
    China is not a leader, a moral leader that is! just a newly rich bully nothing more !
    In Response

    by: xiaohai from: china
    September 06, 2012 5:43 AM
    There is no doubt the South China Sea is part of the People's Republic of China.

    by: Matthew Hall from: Cincinnati, Ohio
    September 05, 2012 10:06 PM
    Wow, the CCP is clearly running scared.

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    September 05, 2012 7:06 PM
    Democratic Taiwan claims the whole South China sea and Diaoyu island.
    Given Taiwan is part of China, so no doubt whole South China sea and Diaoyu island belong to China too.
    In Response

    by: fromthemoon from: China
    September 07, 2012 11:16 AM
    During the first world war and second world war, Japan has invaded and occupied too many chinese lands through unfair treaties such asTaiwan, and PRC never admitted those cowardly treaties signed by former chinese government. After the war, China got back some of these lands with some still in dispute like the Diaoyu island. China and Japan should resolve the dispute on Diaoyu island through peaceful negotiations other than single side actions.
    In Response

    by: Tokyo Boy from: Japan
    September 06, 2012 6:08 AM
    Poor Chinese! You can't access the truth. Have you found People's Daily on Jan 8,1953 and ROC's certificate of appreciation on May 20,1920 to Japanese? China had already agreed Japanese sovereignty over Senkaku islands before.
    If you cannnot access the information, you are brain-washed.

    by: Sean L. from: Manila
    September 05, 2012 2:15 PM
    Yes, no question: that China's claim is bogus.

    by: TJb from: New Zealand
    September 05, 2012 8:10 AM
    A bizarre confrontational stance taken by all parties in the region. Given the close proximity of the islands to all parties , no doubt they all have some sort of local claim historically. Surely some shared ownership stewardship is possible? You guys have to live together , no one is going away.

    by: Zack Sande from: Nirobi
    September 05, 2012 7:04 AM
    Chinese Bull in the East China Sea, threatening to smash anyone who stands in their way - might does not make right, China...this is the way to conflict AND YOU WILL NOT WIN, BE WARNED....
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora