China firmly opposes any act of hegemony in maritime affairs, Premier Li Keqiang said, calling for peaceful development of the seas and warning that conflicts in the past had only brought “disaster for humanity”.
“China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and firmly oppose any act of hegemony in maritime affairs,” Li said in remarks published on the foreign ministry’s website Saturday, Reuters reported over the weekend.
“Developing the oceans through cooperation has helped many nations flourish, while resorting to conflict to fight over the sea has only brought disaster for humanity,” Li was quoted as saying at a maritime summit in Greece on Friday.
The comments came amid a growing dispute between China and its neighbors over the energy-rich South China Sea.
Last week, Beijing sent four more oil rigs into the South China Sea, less than two months after it positioned a giant drilling platform in waters claimed by Vietnam around the Paracel Islands.
Meanwhile, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who visited Vietnam this week to discuss the rig dispute, said China has both the patience and sincerity to push for talks to resolve such spats.
But the country will not sacrifice its sovereignty, he said at a forum in Beijing on Saturday, according to Reuters.
“China will not trade its core interests and will not swallow the bitter pill of harming China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Yang said.
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