China urges ASEAN not to "internationalise" South China Sea issue

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Beijing, July 26 (ANI): China has warned some countries not to "internationalise" the territorial dispute that it faces with its neighbours over the South China Sea, following comments by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the issue at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum meet in Vietnam.

"What will be the consequences if this issue is turned into an international or multilateral one? It will only make matters worse and the resolution more difficult," China Daily quoted Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, as saying.

"International practices show that the best way to resolve such disputes is for countries concerned to have direct bilateral negotiations," he added.

During the ASEAN meet, Clinton said that resolving disputes over the South China Sea was "pivotal" to regional stability and suggested an international mechanism to solve the issue.

"The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea," she said then.

Yang admitted that although China has territorial disputes with a few ASEAN member countries, the South China Sea is currently a peaceful area with navigational freedom.

He alleged that it is not China but some other country that is "coercing" regional countries to take sides on the issue and that Asia can solve its own problems without interference by outside countries.

"Those disputes shouldn't be viewed as ones between China and ASEAN as a whole just because the countries involved are ASEAN members," the pap]er quoted Yang, as saying. (ANI)

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