Xi says China won't stir trouble in South China Sea

SHANGHAI Sat May 31, 2014 12:14am EDT

China's President Xi Jinping delivers a speech to the media during the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3Q5BM

China's President Xi Jinping delivers a speech to the media during the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai May 21, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3Q5BM

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed not to stir up trouble in the South China Sea but said China would react "in the necessary way" to provocations by other countries, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The comments come at a time of deep tension between China and Vietnam over Beijing's decision in early May to move an oil rig into disputed waters between the Paracel islands and the Vietnamese coast.

Days after China deployed the rig, the Philippines accused Beijing of reclaiming land on a disputed reef in the Spratlys to build what would be its first airstrip in the South China Sea.

"We will never stir up trouble, but will react in the necessary way to the provocations of countries involved," Xinhua quoted Xi late on Friday as saying in a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, which is also embroiled in a long-running maritime dispute with China.

Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea.

China has become increasingly willing and able to assert its claims over disputed waters, causing concern among the other parties to the disputes, analysts say.

The decision to deploy the oil rig enraged Vietnam and sparked anti-China rioting. Scores of Vietnamese and Chinese ships continue to square off around the rig and a Vietnamese boat sank this week after a collision that both sides blamed on the other.

Xi told Najib the situation in the South China Sea was "stable in general, but signs deserving our attention have also emerged".

China and Malaysia should "work together to strengthen dialogue and communication, advance maritime cooperation and joint development to maintain peace and stability on the South China Sea", Xinhua quoted him as saying.

Southeast Asian nations with maritime claims have been slow to band together against China, but last week Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Philippine President Benigno Aquino made a rare joint denunciation of China.

To try to keep pressure on Beijing, diplomats said Vietnam might host a meeting with Philippine and Malaysian officials at the end of the month to discuss how to respond to China.

A senior Malaysian diplomatic source told Reuters two weeks ago that China's assertiveness had given momentum to the three-way talks and "brought us together", but he played down the discussions as little more than "chit chat" at this stage.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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Comments (17)
Bakhtin wrote:
All talk. The guy is a liar. he is already stirring trouble and China has been stirring trouble for decades. Xi will carry on stirring trouble, while blaming the victim for ‘provocatively’ refusing to hand territory to China.

China: “I demand that you give me your car.”
Victim: “No way!”
China: *starts trying to break into the car*
Victim: *pushes China away from the car* “Stop being aggressive!”
China: “I am defending my car! You are being provocative by not giving it to me!”

May 31, 2014 1:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
OBryan wrote:
Philippines with victim:Leave his car alone you jerk!
China: NO I WANT IT.
USA: (Sinks Chines ship)We are tired of buying your cheap crap, screw you. (takes all the jobs we gave them back)

May 31, 2014 3:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bakhtin wrote:
I don’t think the USA really needs to sink any of China’s little ships.

Despite China’s endless bragging that they will soon be the most powerful country in the world, the fact is that on nominal GDP the US economy is twice the size of China’s, and on nominal GDP per capita – a guide to productivity – China is way down the list. Between 83rd and 92nd depending whose list you look at. What this says is that China is basically a million peasants pretending to be a millionaire.

As the genuinely rich countries move their manufacturing out of China because China has stupidly turned itself into a politically unstable country, China’s GDP will decline and that will put a stop to their aggression without needing to fire a shot.

If you are familiar with the story of the bird on the elephants back – that bird is China.

May 31, 2014 6:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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