China opposed "internationalizing" South China Sea issue

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New Delhi, July 31 (ANI): China on Friday said that it was opposed to "internationalizing" the South China Sea issue.

A spokesman of the Chinese defence ministry called on the United States to "contribute to bilateral military exchanges" and not interfere in what Beijing termed a national issue.

Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng said China "has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and the surrounding waters".

According to the China Daily, Geng was responding to a US reporter who asked for comments about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks last week in Vietnam.

"We oppose the South China Sea issue being internationalized," said Geng in his first public press briefing.

He added that China respects the ships and aircraft from "relevant countries" entering the South China Sea in accordance with international laws.

Clinton had said in Vietnam last week that the US was concerned that conflicting claims to the Nansha (Spratly) and Xisha (Paracel) island chains were interfering with maritime commerce, hampering access to international waters and undermining the United Nations law of the sea.

China would push for a resolution with "relevant countries" through peaceful negotiations and friendly dialogue according to international law, said Geng. (ANI)

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