China tells US to play constructive role in region

"China respects and protects the right that all countries enjoy under international law to freedom of navigation and overflight," Yang told reporters.

China tells U.S. to play constructive South China Sea role

China told the United States on Tuesday that it should play a constructive role in safeguarding peace in the disputed South China Sea, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for talks and a peaceful resolution.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims, as well as close military ties with the United States.

China has been angered by what it views as provocative U.S. military patrols close to islands China controls in the South China Sea. The United States says the patrols are to protect freedom of navigation.

Speaking at the end of high-level Sino-U.S. talks in Beijing, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, China's top diplomat who outranks the foreign minister, said China had the right to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.

Disputes should be resolved by the parties involved through consultation, he said.

"China hopes the U.S. will scrupulously abide by its promise to not take sides in relevant territorial disputes and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea," Yang said.

Kerry said the United States did not take a position on the sovereignty of any land features in the South China Sea but thought all claimants should exercise restraint.

"We reiterated America's fundamental support for negotiations and a peaceful resolution based on the rule of law as well as our concern about any unilateral steps by any party ... to alter the status quo," Kerry said.

Kerry added that he and Yang reaffirmed their governments' commitment to upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Mikel Obi has promised to support Gov Bello's bid for the presidency

President Buhari greets Gen Abubakar at 79

Army urges Boko Haram terrorists to surrender, says nobody is happy that people are dying

Asari Dokubo says Nnamdi Kanu is a criminal and conman

Tambuwal says PDP Governors determined to rescue Nigeria

BUK threatens to deal decisively with students if they protest their colleague's death

COVID-19: NCDC records lowest infection figure in more than 1 year

Okowa says justice, equity, fairness panacea for Nigeria's unity

Mikel Obi visits Yahaya Bello, harps on youth leadership