China anger at G7 sea disputes statement

Satellite image from Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative showing possible Chinese construction work in the disputed Spratly IslandsImage copyright

Image caption

Satellite images have indicated China is building up facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea

China has said G7 nations should “stop making irresponsible remarks” after foreign ministers released a statement on maritime territorial disputes.

The ministers, meeting in Japan, said they opposed “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions” that could increase tension.

China claims almost all the South China Sea and areas of the East China Sea, angering neighbours who have competing claims.

It has also been reclaiming land.

Experts say satellite images of the reclamation work could indicate that China may be steadily militarising the islands it is creating or expanding.

Read more on the South China Sea:

The foreign ministers of the G7 group of industrialised nations – US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – did not explicitly mention China in their statement.

But they called on all states to “refrain from such actions as land reclamations” and building outposts “for military purposes” that could risk stability or change the status quo.

Disputes should be solved “in good faith and in accordance with international law,” they said.

In his response, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated China’s belief it has a legitimate claim to the territory.

He urged the foreign ministers to “stop making irresponsible remarks and all irresponsible actions, and truly play a constructive role for regional peace and stability”.

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