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Published: Fri, July 15, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Chinese, US foreign ministers discuss maritime issues over phone


As tensions build ahead of an worldwide tribunal's ruling on Beijing's claims over the South China Sea, a veteran Chinese foreign-policy maker sent a stern warning about putting the verdict into action.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, speaks during a joint press conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Wang urged Washington not to take "sides on issues related to sovereign disputes, be prudent with its actions and words, and not to take any actions that infringe upon the sovereignty and security interests of China".

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, accused the United States of harboring a cold-war mentality and said that Ashton Carter's comments had exposed USA plans to increase its military in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, a Philippines expert says the country's government is hoping to explore more innovative ways to manage the dispute with China.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei on Thursday reiterated that the ruling would not affect China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China has also called on the Philippines to work with China to use the power of negotiation to solve disputes on the South China Sea.

"We in China would not be intimidated by the U.S. actions, not even if the United States sent all the 10 aircraft carriers to the South China Sea", Dai said. "But the USA could use it to impose more pressure on China, causing more tensions in the South China Sea (SCS)", the editorial said.

It is now holding its annual military drills around the Xisha Islands in the northern part of the sea.

"Just deliver the ruling, it's no big deal - just a piece of trash", said Dai Bingguo, a former China state councilor, said Tuesday, according to the South China Morning Post.

The report said Chinese officials had repeatedly dismissed the tribunal's authority and said they would ignore the verdict, despite calls from the USA and its allies for China to comply.

Rep. Randy Forbes, the Virginia Republican who chairs the House subcommittee on sea power, said the world is watching whether China behaves like a responsible stakeholder in the worldwide system, and, if not, to see how America responds.

China, by not participating in and not accepting the so-called arbitration, is in fact upholding global laws and rules and safeguarding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) seriously and its integrity.

"We in China will not be intimidated by the U.S. actions", said Mr Dai Bingguo, a former state councillor in charge of foreign affairs, on Tuesday.

Most officials and analysts expect the arbitral tribunal's decision to go against China, depriving it of its basis in claiming nearly all of the South China Sea.

Natee emphasized that it is in the best interests of the Philippines to return to the bilateral negotiating table with China in order to settle the disputes.

"States such as China may declare a naval exercise zone, and issue a Notice to Airmen and a Notice to Mariners to alert other ships and aircraft of the heightened hazards and recommending - but not requiring - that foreign ships and aircraft steer clear", Kraska said.

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