China not to use force in South China sea dispute

June 14th, 2011 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, June 14 (IANS) China has said it will not resort to use of force to resolve maritime border disputes in the South China Sea, BBC reported.

Several Asian nations claim territory in the South China Sea, which includes important shipping routes and is believed to contain oil and gas deposits.

Vietnam is engaged in a renewed row with China over sovereignty of two groups of islands in the South China Sea - the Spratly and Paracel islands.

Tensions have escalated following two separate confrontations involving Vietnamese and Chinese boats in recent weeks.

On Monday, Vietnam staged live-fire drills after weeks of rising tensions between the two nations.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, however, said: “We will not resort to the use of force or the threat of force.”

He condemned any action that would exacerbate the dispute, and urged those involved to “do more that is beneficial to regional peace and stability”.

The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have rival claims in the area.

As the chair of the regional grouping Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam promoted a multilateral approach to the problem. However, China said it prefers to negotiate with individual states separately.

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