China Pledges Firm Response to Japan's S.China Sea Visit
China on Thursday pledged a firm response if Japan
stirs up trouble in the South China Sea, after Reuters reported
on a Japanese plan to send its largest warship to the disputed
The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago,
will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri
Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian
and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July, sources told
The trip would be Japan's biggest show of naval force in the
region since World War Two.
"If Japan persists in taking wrong actions, and even considers
military interventions that threaten China's sovereignty and
security... then China will inevitably take firm responsive
measures," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a
regular press briefing.
China said on Tuesday that it was waiting for an official word on
why Japan plans to send the warship on the tour through the South
China Sea, but that it hoped Japan would be responsible.
Hua did not say on Thursday if China had received confirmation of
the plan, but said that the South China Sea issue did not involve
Japan and that the country should "reflect deeply" on its
"disgraceful" past invasion of the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
Japan controlled the islands during World War Two until its
surrender in 1945.
China claims almost all the South China Sea and its growing
military presence in the waterway has fuelled concern in Japan
and the West, with the United States holding regular air and
naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.
Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim
parts of the sea which has rich fishing grounds, oil and gas
deposits and through which around $5 trillion of global sea-borne
trade passes each year.
Japan does not have any claim to the waters, but has a separate
maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.
China regularly states that the dispute should be resolved
without interference from non-claimants.
Beijing has been speaking with 10 members of the Association of
South East Asian Nations since 2010 to agree to a set of rules
aimed at avoiding conflict in the South China Sea.
Addressing a news conference at the end of the annual meeting of
China's parliament on Wednesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said
that China hopes to push forward with the negotiations for the
code of conduct to maintain stability.
Reporting by Beijing Newsroom
Mar 16, 2017