Obama-Xi meeting eases tension over South China Sea: China foreign minister

Published Mon, Apr 4, 2016 · 03:19 AM

[BEIJING] Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington last week helped ease tensions over disputes in the South China Sea, China's foreign minister was quoted as saying in state media on Monday.

China claims almost all the South China Sea, where about US$5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims. "The Americans have said they will not take sides, so it should not be a problem for the China-US relationship," Mr Wang said, according to a China Daily report.

China-US relations will continue to develop smoothly after the next US president is elected in November, the state-owned newspaper quoted Mr Wang as saying.

But tensions could again escalate if the US launches another freedom of navigation expedition in the South China Sea, as a source told Reuters is planned for early this month. Other US officials have disputed that an exercise is imminent.

China has vigorously protested such military exercises as violating its sovereignty in the sea, where it has built man-made islands to bolster its claims.


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