Last update 6/15/2011 6:30:00 AM (GMT+7)

China warns outside nations to stay out of East Sea dispute
VietNamNet Bridge - Reuters has quoted the Liberation Army Daily on June 14 as saying that China vehemently opposes external powers meddling in territorial disputes over the East Sea.

VN condemns Chinese intrusion

Chinese patrol ships in the East Sea.

The commentary in the Liberation Army Daily repeated Beijing's warning that other "unrelated" countries should back off, adding the Chinese military's weight to that message.

"This dispute must be resolved peacefully through friendly consultations between the two parties involved," the paper said.

"Therefore, China resolutely opposes any country unrelated to the East Sea issue meddling in disputes, and it opposes the internationalisation of the East Sea issue."

Tensions between China and the United States intensified last year after the Obama administration became embroiled in the South China Sea dispute, stressing Washington's support for a collective solution.

This year Sino-U.S relations have steadied, and Washington has so far been more muted about the issue. Beijing insists on handling the disputes over the region on a one-on-one basis rather than multilaterally, a strategy some critics have described as "divide and conquer".

On June 13 Jim Webb, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia, and Senator James Inhofe, the subcommittee's top Republican introduced a bill that would denounce China for the use of force and urge it to seek a peaceful resolution to disputes.

The bill "condemns the use of force" by China and affirms that the US military will "assert and defend freedom of navigation rights" in the East Sea.

On June 10, the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “We’ve been troubled by some of these reports about the East Sea and believe they only serve to raise tensions and don’t help with the peace and security of the region. We support a collaborative diplomatic process… and call on all claimants to conform all of their claims, both land and maritime, to international law.”

He said the United States and the international community at large share an interest in maintaining maritime security in the region, citing freedom of navigation, economic development and respect for international law.

Recently both Vietnam and the Philippines accused of China making provoking acts in the East Sea, causing tension there.

Within two weeks, Chinese boats intruded Vietnam’s waters twice and cut cables of Vietnam’s oil exploration ships. The Philippines accused China of violating its waters six times since February and shot Filipino fishermen in at least on incident.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned last weekend that clashes may erupt in the East Sea unless nations with conflicting territorial claims adopt a mechanism to settle disputes peacefully.

Thai An