South China Sea dispute: China hints indirectly at ‘interference’ by India

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Rear Admiral Guan Youfei

China on Tuesday expressed resentment that countries that do not directly belong to the South China Sea (SCS) region have “interfered” with the dispute, indirectly pointing toward India.

“China does not agree with the interference of countries outside the region into this issue. Especially, some countries that said they do not support any position or take sides on the issue, but in their acts and deeds they did not do what they said,” said Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, Director General, Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence, China.

Guan was speaking on behalf of China’s most senior military officer, Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman, Central Military Commission (CMC), who concluded his two-day visit to India on Tuesday.

Recently, at the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-plus) in Malaysia, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the situation in SCS and the recent developments there had “attracted interest and concern.”

He had also hoped that all countries involved in this dispute will abide by the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which stipulates commitment to freedom of navigation in the region. \ China said the issue of freedom of navigation is being used as an “excuse” by the US, which is also pushing other countries into this.

“China thinks that the freedom of navigation is a forced proposition by some countries because every year there are more than 100,000 vessels passing through the SCS, every day millions of tonnes of oil is transported through SCS and there has not been any problem of freedom of navigation. There have been no claims on being threatened by these vessels. In the recently concluded ADMM-plus US tried to put this into the joint statement, but there was no consensus,” Guan stated.

He said General Fan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parrikar and Chief of Army General Dalbir Singh during the visit. During the meeting, Fan stressed that at present, the China-India border situation is generally stable and the two militaries should take concrete action to implement the consensus reached by the two leaders on border issues.

Published on November 17, 2015

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