BEIJING, MAR 9: Likening the situation in its troubled neighbourhood to a “military chess game”, China today said it will firmly defend its territorial sovereignty and rights but at the same time try to resolve differences through talks upholding regional peace and stability.
Addressing his annual press conference here today coinciding with the new leadership change, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi acknowledged that in the light of territorial disputes “the complexities in China’s neighbouring environment have increased“.
Yang who held the post for six years under the outgoing Hu Jintao administration, is tipped to get elevated as State Counsellor to succeed retiring top envoy Dai Binguo to represent China in future Sino-India border talks and he said despite the disputes, relations with neighbours have improved.
He began his answer to the question on disputes with neighbours speaking about his fascination of military chess games for which one needs to have “whole picture in mind“.
“With respect to territorial disputes between China and some of its neighbours, China will firmly defend its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests,” he said.
At the same time he said Chinese sincerely wish to properly handle and resolve the differences through negotiations and consultations in order to uphold peace and stability in the region.
There was no direct reference to India and the Sino-Indian border dispute or problems over the South China Sea dispute with several East Asian countries in Yang’s press meet but he had very strong words for Japan to settle the raging dispute over the islands in East China sea.
“The current situation has been caused by the Japanese side single-handedly and the root cause lies in “Japan’s illegal seizure and occupation of China’s territory,” he said.
“The firm measures taken by the Chinese side have shown the will and resolve of the Chinese government and the Chinese people to defend our territorial sovereignty,” he said.
He asked Japan to take real steps to correct its mistakes over the issue, and work with China to prevent tensions from “getting out of control.”
Yang said despite the problems, China’s ties with neighbours improved so much so that China’s trade with them reached $ 1.2 trillion surpassing Beijing’s combined trade with its top two trade partners EU and US.
In the face of international financial crisis, China’s contribution to Asia’s economic growth has exceeded 50 per cent, he said.
About 35 million travel visits have taken place between China and neighbours and 1.70 lakh Asian students are studying in China. Over 100 visits of leaders and officials have taken place between China and its neighbours and they are set to double in future, he said.
“As Chinese saying goes, a good friend and good neighbour is invaluable. China will continue to follow the policy of building good neighbourly relationships and partnership in the neighbourhood and continue to foster amicable ties for mutual benefits with our neighbours,” he said.
China Marine Surveillance Detachment Stationed in Sansha City
A China Marine Surveillance (CMS) detachment was officially stationed in the nation’s southernmost city of Sansha on Saturday.
Yang Zhong, deputy head of the detachment, said the team will carry out regular patrolling and observation missions including the management of maritime space and protection of marine ecology and islands.
“It means CMS has enhanced its administrative management of the Sansha waters, and effectively covered the whole South China Sea,” said Zhang Weijian, an official with CMS’s South Sea fleet.
As China’s youngest city, Sansha was officially set up in July last year on Yongxing Island in the South China Sea. The city administers three island groups — Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha — and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
Chinese fleet to patrol South China Sea for nine days
Beijing: A marine surveillance fleet departed from China’s Sanya city in Hainan province Friday for regular patrols in the South China Sea, Xinhua reported.
The team consisting of three China Marine Surveillance (CMS) ships — Haijian 83, Haijian 262, and Haijian 263, as well as Haijian B-7103 helicopter, will patrol waters around the Xisha islands for nine days.
According to Chen Huaibei, head of the patrol team, this is the first time for the Chinese maritime helicopter and ships to be dispatched to patrol the Xisha Islands at the same time since Sansha city was officially set up last July.
The patrolling missions will include inspecting the islands and marine resources and ecology, and setting up a profile for each island, he said. On Feb 7, the Chinese government said daily patrols would be conducted in the South China Sea in 2014 to better safeguard the “legitimate interests” of domestic fishermen.
Over 400 fishing vessels are currently operating in the South China Sea.Last year, surveillance ships carried out 58 patrol missions in the South China Sea over its territorial waters off the disputed Diaoyu Islands to secure the nation’s maritime rights and interests.
The islands are called “Diaoyu” in China but “Senkaku” in Japan. The row over the islands, which are presently controlled by Japan, has left ties between Tokyo and Beijing highly tense. Japan claims occupying the islands since 1895, while China maintains the islands were recognised as Chinese territory as early as 1783.