Beijing, Jan 27: Refuting US President Barack Obama's remarks on upholding freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea, China on Tuesday asserted that there has never been a problem of navigation in the area and relevant issue should be resolved through talks by parties directly concerned.
"We believe relevant issue should be resolved through dialogue and consultation by parties directly concerned," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here today. She was replying to question over Obama's remarks in New Delhi today that US welcomes a greater role for India in the Asia Pacific, where the freedom of navigation must be upheld and disputes must be resolved peacefully.
"At present situation in South China Sea is generally stable and there is consensus between China and ASEAN countries that is we will jointly safeguard peace and stability of South China Sea and the situation in freedom of navigation and over-flights have not seen any problems and there will be none in the future," she said.
Earlier in New Delhi, Obama said freedom of navigation must be upheld in the Asia Pacific and welcomed a greater role for India in the region. "The US welcomes a greater role for India in Asia Pacific where the freedom of navigation must be upheld and dispute must be resolved peacefully," he said in his town hall speech.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam contests the Chinese claims on the resource-rich region. Rival countries have wrangled over territorial claims in the contested South China Sea -- but a recent surge in tension has sparked concern that the area is becoming a flashpoint with global consequences.
China had last year warned India against meddling in its dispute with Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea. It opposed Vietnam's move to invite India to carry out oil exploration in South China Sea.