UN calls for calm as China slams US over disputed sea

UN Secretary General says the countries must find a peaceful solution in the South China Sea as China calls on US to stop risky actions

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

After recent confrontations and heated-up statements over the disputed South China Sea, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called all the states involved in territorial dispute to find a peaceful solution.

Ban's statement in Vietnam's capital Hanoi came just after China-US confrontation over the skies of the disputed sea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called "a security threat to China's islands and reefs" after a US military plane flew over them and warned to turn back.

Ban said he has been calling dialogue and rule of law for resolving the issue, adding everyone should avoid actions that make things worse in the region.

Echoing those remarks, China has also said "actions or risks causing an accident" should be avoided, but directly referring to US military activities in the South China Sea.

The Chinese navy warned a US surveillance aircraft flying over disputed sea near Beijing’s artificial islands eight times to leave the area on Wednesday.

Speaking about the incident, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that "China will take the necessary and appropriate measures to prevent harm to the safety of China's islands and reefs."

"Such action is likely to cause an accident, it is completely irresponsible and completely dangerous and detrimental to regional peace and stability. We express our strong dissatisfaction, we urge the U.S. to strictly abide by international law and international rules and refrain from taking any risky and provocative actions," he said.

The high-stakes rivalry between China and the United States seems to have turned into a confrontation after Washington decided to send surveillance aircrafts to patrol the airspace above the South China Sea.

China’s efforts to redefine its territorial waters were increased last year when Beijing commenced the building of seven artificial islands near the Spratly islands where coastal states in the South China Sea have severely objected to Chinese maritime expansion.

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea and has long been wrestling with its maritime neighbours Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei over sovereignty.

The US administration announced on Thursday that it would continue to patrol waters and skies of the long-disputed sea.

TRTWorld and agencies