BEIJING Nov 30 China said on Friday that it
attached great importance to freedom of navigation in the South
China Sea after state media said police in its southern island
province of Hainan will board and search ships which illegally
enter what China considers its territory in the disputed waters.
"All countries have freedom of navigation in the South China
Sea in accordance with international law," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing. "China attaches
great importance to freedom of navigation in the South China
"At present there are no problems in this regard," Hong
said, adding that Beijing hoped to resolve tensions through
The South China Sea is Asia's biggest potential military
trouble spot with several Asian countries claiming sovereignty
over waters believed to be rich in oil and gas.