China rebukes to US over South China Sea comments
China's Foreign Ministry called in a senior US diplomat to protest remarks by the State Department over rising tensions in the disputed South China Sea, DPa reported.
Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng summoned deputy chief of mission Robert Wang to make "solemn representations" of Chinese concerns "to the top US leadership immediately," the ministry said on its website late Saturday.
US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Friday that China's establishment of a city and garrison on one of the disputed islands ran "counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences" and risked escalating tensions.
The US criticism "completely ignored the facts, deliberately confounded right and wrong, and sent a seriously wrong signal, which is not conducive to the efforts safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea and the Asia Pacific region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.
Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, home to key shipping lanes and believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.
Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have vying claims to different areas.
Vietnam and the Philippines have also condemned China's decision to set up a garrison last month on Yongxing, or Woody, island, the largest of the Paracel chain. The new city administers the Spratly, Paracel and Macclesfield Bank archipelagos and surrounding waters, Beijing announced on June 21.
China already controls the Paracels and reefs and shoals within the nearby Spratlys, according to the International Crisis Group. Chinese forces seized the islands from Vietnam in January 1974.