Mainland says it doesn’t fear ‘trouble’ in disputed S. China Sea

An Asian security summit ended in discord Sunday after mainland China denounced U.S. “provocations” in the South China Sea and declared it does not fear trouble in the contested waters.

“The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests,” Adm. Sun Jianguo told an annual forum in Singapore.

Sun, who stressed mainland China’s desire for a peaceful solution, spoke one day after U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said any Chinese construction on an islet near the Philippines would prompt unspecified “actions” by the United States and other nations.

On a visit to Mongolia Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also warned Beijing against setting up an air defense identification zone over the disputed waters.

“We would consider an ADIZ, an ADIZ zone, over portions of the South China Sea as a provocative and destabilizing act, which would automatically raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically manage the territorial disputes of the South China Sea,” Kerry said.

“We believe that it is critical that no country move unilaterally to militarize the region,” he added.

His remarks came on the eve of a U.S.-mainland China dialogue in Beijing and after Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper cited mainland Chinese forces sources as saying Beijing was mulling such a zone.

China claims nearly all of the sea despite competing claims by several Southeast Asian neighbors, and has pressed its claims by rapidly building artificial islands suitable for military use.

Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese-claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

Rhetoric has escalated ahead of a decision at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on a case brought by the Philippines, a longtime U.S. ally and former colony, against mainland China, which says it will not recognize any ruling.

The mainland admiral said U.S. naval and air patrols in the sea were a display of “military muscles” and mainland China was being forced to “accept and honor” the tribunal’s ruling.

“China firmly opposes such behavior. We do not make trouble but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun, the leader of the mainland’s delegation in Singapore, said in prepared remarks.

Carter had left Singapore by the time Sun made his speech.

Sun also took exception to Carter’s statement on Saturday that Beijing risks building a “Great Wall of self-isolation” with its military expansion.

Source: China Post