Photo via the website of China's Foreign Ministry
The United States is the biggest promoter of the South China Sea's militarization and the most dangerous factor against peace in the region, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Wang made the remarks at the 10th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Wednesday.
The U.S. has undermined China's efforts and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to negotiate disputes and stirred up a confrontation among countries, Wang pointed out, adding that this will develop into the most dangerous factor against the peace in the region.
Wang reiterated that peace and stability is not only China's biggest strategic interest in the South China Sea but also the common strategic aspiration of China and ASEAN countries.
The South China Sea is not a geopolitical arena, Wang stressed, urging the U.S. side to respect the regional countries' will instead of creating tensions for its own interests.
Wang further stressed several basic facts about the South China Sea.
Firstly, China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea have sufficient historical and legal basis, Wang said.
Secondly, China adheres to a good-neighborly and friendly neighborhood policy and is committed to playing a constructive role on the South China Sea issue, he added.
Thirdly, China is committed to observing international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.
Talking about the bilateral relations between China and the U.S., Wang said that the differences and contradictions between China and the United States are not disputes over positions of power or social systems.
Instead, it is the conflicts of multilateralism and unilateralism, and choice between cooperation and zero-sum game, Wang added.
He further pointed out that China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security, and development interests, and meanwhile, China is ready to have communication and dialogue with the U.S. side.