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China dissatisfied with British comment on South China Sea

Updated: 2016-04-21 00:02
BEIJING -- China is strongly dissatisfied with senior British official Hugo Swire's comment on the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.

Hugo Swire, British minister of state for the foreign office, said on Monday that growing tensions in the South China Sea are driven by China's assertive actions.

He said Britain will stand alongside the US in supporting an upcoming ruling by an international tribunal on a complaint lodged by the Philippines and that any ruling "should be binding on both parties."

"Mr. Swire's comment neglects facts and is full of bias. It breaks Britain's commitment that it does not take sides on issues involving territorial disputes. China is strongly dissatisfied with this," Hua said at a regular news briefing.

Hua said the United States and the Philippines colluded to create an illusion of tension on the sea, while what people see is "more than 100,000 vessels passing safely through the region every year as usual."

The only difference is the more frequent and high-profile appearance of US military ships and planes in the region. The US ambassador to the Philippines said recently the US will give Manila an observation blimp and military equipment worth 42 million US dollars, Hua said.

"Facts show that the US is the biggest driver behind tension on the South China Sea. The US is calling white black by blaming China," Hua said.

Manila unilaterally initiated an arbitration case against China over the maritime disputes at an international tribunal in The Hague in early 2013 under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"The Philippines' attempt to deny China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands is obviously a result of instigation behind the scene and political manipulation," Hua said, calling the Philippine move "an abuse of international law".

China has repeatedly said it will not accept nor participate in the process.

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