Former U.S. President Bill Clinton used a trip to China on Friday to criticize Beijing over its territorial disputes with smaller countries in the South China Sea.
According to Fortune, Bill Clinton was in Guangzhou in southern China to deliver remarks at a conference hosted by Pacific Construction Group, a Fortune 500 infrastructure company. During a question and answer with Pacific’s founder Yan Jiehe, Clinton was asked for his opinion on China’s ongoing disputes with the East and South China Seas.
According to the Fortune report, Clinton drew a distinction between China’s row with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, and Beijing’s disputes with smaller Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea. “It’s not necessarily the same for who has access to resources in the South and East China Sea and where territorial boundaries should be marked,” Clinton was quoted as saying.
Regarding to the East China Sea dispute, former President Clinton said: “If China and Japan are arguing over a couple of islands, the rest of the world can watch because we feel you’re arguing on more or less [on] even terms.”