China warns the U.S. against meddling in the East China Sea

US warned against China Sea meddling

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 17:56:15 GMT

Beijing has warned the United States to be cautious in its words and actions with regard to territorial disputes involving China and its neighbors.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry warning comes amid a diplomatic wrangle over Beijing’s newly announced air defense zone in the East China Sea.

“We hope relevant countries can respect the efforts made by China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, adhere to the stance and commitment of not taking sides on the issue of the South China Sea, be cautious about their words and actions, and make active efforts to maintain mutual trust between countries in the region,” the ministry’s spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said during a press conference in Beijing.

Before this, Washington had warned Beijing against imposing an air defense zone over both the South China Sea and East China Sea.

US State Secretary John Kerry said recently that Washington would help its regional allies in protecting their territorial waters.

China and its neighbors lay similar claims to parts of the strategic and resource-rich seas.

The development comes days after Chinese fighter jets chased the US and Japanese military aircraft inside China’s newly declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea.

Chinese defense authorities say they have sent more fighter jets to the zone. The Chinese air force described the mission as a defensive measure in line with international law.

China says foreign aircraft passing through the airspace, including passenger planes, will have to identify themselves to Chinese authorities.

The zone includes the skies over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

China is also locked in territorial rows with the Philippines over wide swathes of the South China Sea and has said it might set up a similar zone there.

Senior Chinese officials have repeatedly called on Washington not to take sides over the issue.

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