Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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US stance on South China Sea undermines regional peace: Beijing

China on Tuesday criticised Washington for challenging Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea amid escalating tensions between the two countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the United States was a “troublemaker” in the South China Sea region.  A position paper issued by Washington on Monday “deliberately stirs up territorial maritime disputes and undermines regional peace and stability,” Zhao said during a press briefing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had labelled as “unlawful” Beijing’s claims to offshore resources outside of its own internationally recognised waters and vowed the US would support allies and partners in the region.  Pompeo accused China of carrying out a “campaign of bullying” against states in the area.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in marine and mineral resources. It has built artificial islands with military-capable facilities over disputed reefs and outcrops in the area.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also assert claims in the sea.
Zhao said China was committed to working with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to safeguard stability in the region.
Meanwhile, Taiwan said on Tuesday it should participate in any multilateral negotiations regarding territorial claims in the South China Sea.
“Taiwan should be included in multilateral dispute resolution mechanisms,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said, adding that Taiwan has “indisputable” claims in the region.
The US paper on the South China Sea is the latest move in a tit-for-tat conflict that has unfolded on multiple fronts between Beijing and Washington in the past few months. The two countries are sparring over issues including trade, the coronavirus outbreak and Hong Kong’s autonomy.