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Aquino's "groundless" accusations rejected

Updated: 2015-04-15 18:30
By ZHAO SHENGNAN (chinadaily.com.cn)

Beijing on Wednesday refuted Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's "groundless" accusations over the South China Sea, urging the Philippines to respect China's territorial sovereignty.

Philippine territory has never included the Nansha islands and China's construction work on them does not impact or target any other countries, nor does it threaten the security of international shipping lanes and fishing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news conference.

Hong was responding to Aquino's latest criticism of China in an interview the Philippine president gave on Tuesday. In the interview with AFP, Aquino said that China's actions in the South China Sea heightened risk of military conflict.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims over parts of the South China Sea with China.

Hong said that since the 1970s, the Philippines had occupied some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands by force, and that was the root cause of the countries' maritime dispute.

The Philippines should respect China's territorial sovereignty and and try to resolve disputes through direct negotiations, Hong said.

China maintains that direct negotiation offers the best chance of resolving territorial disputes, and it will continue with its efforts to safeguard maritime peace and stability, Hong said.

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