Skip to main content

China blasts U.S. for sending 'wrong message' on South China Sea disputes

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 6, 2012 -- Updated 0043 GMT (0843 HKT)
Soldiers raise the national flag during the Sansha city establishment ceremony on July 24, 2012 in Sansha, China.
Soldiers raise the national flag during the Sansha city establishment ceremony on July 24, 2012 in Sansha, China.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. issued a statement criticizing China on South China Sea territorial disputes
  • A Chinese spokesman responds by claiming the U.S. shows a "total disregard for the facts"
  • The U.S. confounded "right and wrong" and undermined peace in the region, he adds
  • There are international disputes about who controls islands and waters in the South China Sea

(CNN) -- China blasted the United States on Saturday for its recent public criticism and urging of diplomacy to address territorial disputes in the South China Sea, saying the U.S. statement shows "total disregard for the facts" and sends "a seriously wrong message."

The blistering statement, from Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang, follows one issued the previous day by a counterpart at the U.S. State Department.

The debate revolves around who controls islands and waters in the South China Sea. Countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines lay claim to some areas. Qin stated unequivocally Saturday that "China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and adjacent waters."

Acting U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell began his statement Friday insisting the United States does "not take a position on competing territorial claims ... and (has) no territorial ambitions in the South China Sea."

China, ASEAN at odds over sea territory
U.S. military's Asia strategy

Yet he added that Washington believes countries "should work collaboratively and diplomatically to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and without the use of force."

Ventrell suggested that not all nations in the region are taking this latter approach, expressing U.S. concern about the "increase in tensions in the South China Sea" in the form of "confrontational rhetoric," "coercive economic actions and the incidents around the Scarborough Reef, including the use of barriers to deny access."

"In particular, China's upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region," Ventrell said, before urging the nations involved to agree on ways to peacefully address disputes.

Qin, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, started his statement -- which was posted on his ministry's website -- by accusing the United States of confounding "right and wrong" and undermining regional efforts to "uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region at large."

China's action in Sansha City, specifically, is a "necessary adjustment" that falls "well within China's sovereign rights," the spokesman said.

Qin accused other nations of not abiding by a 2002 agreement involving Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, members.

The Chinese spokesman then singled out Washington for what he suggested was hypocrisy and "unfounded accusations ... against China's normal and reasonable acts."

"People cannot but question the true intention of the U.S. side," Qin wrote.

He challenged the United States for overlooking other nations "marking out a large number of oil and gas blocks in the South China Sea" and claiming "as its own China's islands, reefs and waters."

Washington, too, has ignored it when other nation's navies have threatened Chinese fishermen, Qin claimed.

If the United States truly wasn't taking positions on territorial disputes, then why did it speak up now and "stir up trouble at a time when countries concerned in the region are stepping up dialogue?" he asked rhetorically.

"The United States needs to follow the trend of the times and respect the shared aspirations and consensus of countries in the region for peace, stability and development," Qin said. "It should respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and act in a way that contributes to stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and not otherwise."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general has confessed to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in President Xi Jinping's war on corruption.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
A group in China escapes from a stuck elevator thanks to one man and his trusty hammer. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Facebook's founder says he taught himself Mandarin and tested his skills with students in China.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
China launched an experimental spacecraft that is scheduled to orbit the moon before returning to Earth.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Full marks for ingenuity: This was a truly high-tech scam.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0526 GMT (1326 HKT)
The rationale behind Confucius Institutes -- an international chain of academic centers run by an arm of the Chinese government -- is understandable.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0511 GMT (1311 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
ADVERTISEMENT