Amid concerns over its growing assertiveness in South China Sea, China today said there was no “insecurity” as well as no restriction on the freedom of navigation in the region.

“The problem does not exist,” Chinese Ambassador Le Yucheng said referring to the freedom of navigation and security in the resource-rich South China sea.

Describing it as a stable region, the envoy said South China Sea was key for China’s international trade.

“China, more than anyone else, is interested in ensuring security of the waters. 70 per cent of Chinese goods come and go through the waters,” he said.

South China Sea dispute

Asked about the mentioning of the South China Sea dispute in the India-US joint statement issued during President Barack Obama’s visit here in January, Le said China took note of it and that there was no problem of security or any issue relating to freedom of navigation in the region.

“We noticed the statement about the South China sea. The South China sea remains stable and secure. Nothing happened.

There has been no incident,” Le said at the India Today conclave.

China has an acrimonious relationship with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei over the South China Sea issue.

India’s ONGC Videsh (OVL) has operations in oil blocks in South China Sea. China has been objecting to India’s oil exploration projects in the disputed waters, while Vietnam has been pushing for India’s greater participation in oil projects.

Freedom of navigation

India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with the principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Talking about various problems facing the region and the globe, Le identified poverty as a key challenge and invoked Mahatma Gandhi.

“Gandhi had said poverty is the worst form of violence,” he said seeking concerted efforts to address the challenge.

The envoy said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made “remarkable progress” in lifting India’s economy. He also spoke about the need for better connectivity in the region and mentioned about China’s efforts to revive the Silk route project.