China says India-Singapore naval drill should not hurt other countries' interests

China says India-Singapore naval drill should not hurt other countries' interests”

According to Duterte, Xi responded, "Well if you force this, we'll be forced to tell you the truth". Duterte is known for his sometimes-provocative remarks, which his office usually retracts later and blames media for spinning some of his words. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims on parts of the sea.

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the approval of the COC draft framework means that discussion on measures to work through the South China Sea issue and expand marine cooperation is back on track.

China said the exercises should not hurt the interests of other countries. The strategy has provoked intense reaction from other claimants and the USA, which argues China's actions threaten the ability to navigate freely through the strategically important area. "No less than Chinese President Xi Jingping has delivered the threat personally to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte", Carpio said.

Mr Duterte didn't say when and where the conversation took place. In this regard, in addition to and without prejudice to other mechanisms, a bilateral consultation mechanism can be useful, which will meet regularly on current and other issues of concern to either side on the South China Sea.

But China has faced criticism of what the USA has called the militarisation of maritime outposts.

"That is why the president kept asking the United States ambassador, 'are you with us or not?' He did not get a clear answer", he told CNN in an interview.

According to the state-owned Defense Times newspaper, the launchers were installed to combat Vietnamese military divers.

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Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday Southeast Asian nations and China should start with a "gentleman's agreement" on the South China Sea waterway because no mechanism exists to legally enforce any deal.

"The specific provisions on the South China Sea in the latter part of the chairman's statement recognized the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the South China Sea", he added.

Hua also called on Japan to turn its commitment to improving relations with China into concrete policies and actions.

In a statement, Carpio said the Philippines should run to another arbitral tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

After a meeting between Chinese and ASEAN officials in the Chinese city of Guiyang, China's foreign ministry said the framework had been agreed upon, although it gave no details of its contents.

China's efforts to assert its dominance over the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion in annual trade is ferried, have in the past angered Southeast Asian nations with competing claims, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

Sta. Romana said the Philippines and China will pursue possible areas of maritime cooperation in the South China Sea "without prejudice to our respective claims".

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