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China says US has 'no right' to interfere in South China Sea

By AFP

March 19, 2024 02:12 PM


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China said Tuesday the United States had "no right" to interfere in the South China Sea, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington stood by its commitments to defend the Philippines against armed attack in the disputed waterway.

"The United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue and has no right to interfere in maritime issues that are between China and the Philippines," foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian told a regular press conference in Beijing.

Blinken is in the Philippine capital Manila -- his second visit since President Ferdinand Marcos took office in 2022 -- as part of a brief Asia tour to reinforce US support for regional allies against China.

"Military cooperation between the US and the Philippines must not harm China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, and still less be used to provide a platform for the Philippines' illegal claims," Lin said in a response to a question on Blinken's earlier comments.

"China will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely defend its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea," he added.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea -- a crucial route for global trade -- brushing aside competing claims from several Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that has declared its stance baseless.


AFP


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