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G7 says concerned about tensions in the East and South China Seas

Taiwan Coast Guard patrol ships and helicopters from National Airborne Service Corps are seen during a drill held about 4 nautical miles out of the port of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

KRUEN, Germany (Reuters) - The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations said on Monday they were concerned about tensions in the East and South China Seas and called for countries to abide by international law.

“We underline the importance of peaceful dispute settlement as well as free and unimpeded lawful use of the world’s oceans,” they said in a communique.

China claims most of the South China Sea, while the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims.

“We strongly oppose the use of intimidation, coercion or force, as well as any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo, such as large-scale land reclamation,” the G7 leaders said, without naming countries.

China has been criticised for extensive reclamation work and moves to turn submerged rocks into man-made structures.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Gareth Jones