Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) — The Chinese government dismissed as “irresponsible” the joint statement made by a number of countries on the South China Sea dispute.
“We ask the relevant countries to respect facts, especially when it comes to maritime issues. They should also respect the efforts made by regional countries to uphold stability while focusing on cooperation and development, and refrain from stirring up troubles and making irresponsible remarks,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a media briefing in Beijing Wednesday.
He was asked about the April 23 joint communique released by foreign ministers from seven advanced economies that form the Group of Seven (G7): Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The leaders expressed concern over the long-standing maritime row in the South China Sea, one of the issues they discussed in a meeting on April 22-23 in Toronto, Canada. The European Union was also represented in the meeting.
“We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order, such as the threat or use of force, large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes,” the G7 foreign ministers said.
They said “diplomatic efforts should lead to demilitarization of disputed features” in the South China Sea.
The statements come amid the reported presence of two Chinese military planes on Panganiban or Mischief Reef, and China’s unveiling of a monument to mark its construction work in Kagitingan or Fiery Cross Reef.
Both are in the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which is being claimed by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei.