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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Mike in Maine from: US
    September 05, 2012 6:08 AM
    Given that the Chinese Navy can't even navigate the SC Sea's without running their own Navy's destroyer's aground, I would be hard pressed to take seriously Beijing's claim of sovereignty over there own harbor's much less any part of the South China Sea. And given the fact that the Phillippines are now getting increasingly active in defending their territorial waters and resources, Manila isin't going to be shy if push comes to shove. And that is a roll fo the dice that Beijing had better think about VERY SERIOUSLY, before someone goes off half-cocked and does something stupid. And Beijing had better be reading Barbara Tuchman real quick. Time to think, once action has begun, is not going to be on their side.
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    September 05, 2012 2:13 PM
    to hahaha from Canada,
    Your statement should be your own answer .
    What make you think that your Bigger China will win over either little Vietnam or little Philippines .
    Did you see the irony of your statement yet?
    In Response

    by: hahaha from: Canada
    September 05, 2012 12:50 PM
    You think China for sure will lose and US and other countries will for sure win? Wait to see. History always tells us that 'bigger/stronger' country (like US) may not even win a small country (like Korean war and Vietnam war). Weapons are not evenything.
         

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora