China denounces U.S. meddling in the South China Sea as an outside force
China on Monday warned against U.S. meddling in the South China Sea as an outside force, telling the U.S. side to stop gesticulate on regional affairs in Southeast Asia.
"The U.S., as a non-regional force, should fully respect the efforts of regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, instead of always pointing fingers and causing troubles here," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a press conference.
He made the remarks in reponse to reports that a U.S. envoy had earlier denounced Chinese "intimidation" in the South China Sea.
Hailing the progress made between China and all ASEAN member states in exploring a rule-based governance of the contentious waters, Geng said the situation in the South China Sea has remained generally stable in the past year under the joint efforts of all countries in the region.
On Sunday while attending the 22nd China-ASEAN summit in Bangkok, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang again urged all sides to actively carry forward consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea according to the previously agreed to timetable.
The ASEAN leaders attending the Sunday summit all agreed that the China-ASEAN relationship is the most dynamic and vibrant among all ASEAN partnerships, Geng said.
"This serves as a powerful rebuttal against U.S.'s provocations attempting to drive a wedge between China and other regional countries."
The COC is an upgraded version of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), outlining a set of norms and responsibilities for ensuring lasting peace and stability in the region.
Since the Chinese side last year proposed a vision to complete COC talks within three years, the first reading of the single draft negotiating text of the COC in the South China Sea was completed ahead of schedule, and the second reading had already been launched.