China says Philippines stirring tensions after Aquino supports Japan

BEIJING Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:31am EDT

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) attend a joint news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo June 24, 2014. Aquino is in Japan for a one-day visit. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) attend a joint news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo June 24, 2014. Aquino is in Japan for a one-day visit.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday accused the Philippines of creating tension in the region and urged Manila to show "sincerity" in upholding stability after President Benigno Aquino welcomed Japan's more assertive military policy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made it clear on Tuesday he wanted an early agreement with his ruling party's dovish junior partner to ease constitutional curbs that have kept Japan's military from fighting abroad since World War Two.

Aquino said after meeting Abe that "nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others".

China's foreign ministry said Aquino's statement had complicated an already difficult situation.

"We think that the relevant country should earnestly show its sincerity, meet China halfway, rather than creating tensions and rivalry and adding new, complicating factors to the situation in the region," spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

Hua urged Manila to "play a positive and constructive role" for peace and stability, "rather than the reverse".

Japan and the Philippines are locked in disputes with China over territorial claims, respectively, in the East China Sea and South China Sea. Sino-Japanese ties have also long been plagued by what Beijing sees as Japan's failure to atone for its often brutal occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and 1940s. "Because of historical reasons, China has maintained a high degree of concern about Japan's policy movements in the military and security fields," Hua said.

China, she said, hoped Japan would "understand and respect the legitimate concerns" of neighboring countries.

State media earlier said China had unveiled a new official map of the country giving greater play to its claims on the South China Sea, making the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory.

Previous maps included China's claims to most of the South China Sea, but in a little box normally in a bottom corner to enable the rest of the country to fit easily onto a single leaf.

It was not clear, however, to what extent the map was new. Reuters was able to buy a very similar one, first printed last year, in one of Beijing's main book stores.

ALL ON ONE MAP

The map described by media reports is longer and dispenses with the box. It shows continental China and its self-declared boundary in the South China Sea - stretching to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines - on one complete map.

"The islands of the South China Sea on the traditional map of China are shown in a cut-away box, and readers cannot fully, directly know the full map of China," the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said on its website.

The new map "has important meaning for promoting citizens' better understanding of ... maintaining (our) maritime rights and territorial integrity," an unnamed official with its publishers told the newspaper.

Hua told reporters people should not read too much into the issuing of the new map. "The goal is to serve the Chinese public. As for the intentions, I think there is no need to make too much of any association here," she said.

Philippine Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose said the publication of the map showed China's "unreasonably expansive claims" that he said contravened international law.

"And it is precisely such ambitious expansionism that is causing tension in the South China Sea," he told reporters.

Beijing claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea. Parts of the potentially energy-rich waters are also subject to claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Tensions have risen sharply in the region in recent months, especially between China and both Vietnam and the Philippines.

China's positioning of an oil rig in waters claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi last month has led to rammings at sea between ships from both countries and anti-Chinese violence in Vietnam.

(Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in MANILA; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (2)
4NewEngland wrote:
With all due respect to spokeswoman Hua Chunying, she says; “We think that the relevant country should… meet China halfway, rather than creating tensions and rivalry…in the region,”??

Dear spokeswoman, the latest official PRC govt position asserts that PRC will NOT compromise at all with Philippines on her unilateral core interests relative to SCS and will not bend on ‘indisputable sovereignty’ claims! Is PRC govt hinting now that a policy-shift is underway and that PRC is willing to bend (compromise) half-way too?!?

That would surely be very encouraging to everyone on the Philippines side involved with the diplomatic push to date, if true.

But another thing… when PRC talks about RP ‘creating the tensions’, please note that it is PRC Coast Guard ships which are inside RP EEZ waters and forcibly BLOCKING/intimidating Filipino fishing boats and any surveillance vessels from freely accessing said waters as allowed by law!

Official RP position statements simply opposing/rejecting such unilateral aggressiveness and violations of International Law, are NOT the source of tensions!

Please do officially recognize a shift to respect rule of law and peaceful resolution even half-way… that is indeed what the whole CoC code dialogue is patiently awaiting! Thanks.

Jun 25, 2014 7:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
166Cadlan wrote:
LOL! It’s like watching a kabuki theater, it’s a farce these Chinese press conferences.
I can’t fault them though as they are just mouthing off the party propaganda and regurgitate it . I understand where they’re coming from.
PRC new leadership has had issues grappling with the truth and what is fabricated. It’s not a law respecting nation, a legacy of a totalitarian state. This makes them so dangerous and unpredictable, imagine a North Korean gang that is 100 times bigger in terms of weaponry and money, that’s big trouble in South China Sea and for the rest of the world.
For them the truth is something they can just pick and choose but by doing so they’ve deprived themselves from knowing what absolute truth is. Tienanmen massacre comes to mind.
This is why its leaders can utter “regional peace” in one day and say “indisputable sovereignty” the next day, without batting an eye.

Jun 27, 2014 12:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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