UPDATE 1-G7 foreign ministers oppose provocation in East and South China Seas

(Adds Chinese reaction)

Foreign ministers from the
Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies said they strongly
opposed provocation in the East and South China Seas, where
China is locked in territorial disputes with nations including
the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

In the latest verbal exchange on who controls the vital
trade waterways, China said it had not seen the G7 statement,
but that countries in the region were seeking to promote
stability and that disputes were being “exaggerated”.

“If the G7 wants to continue playing a major role in the
world, it should take an attitude of seeking truth from the
facts to handle the issues the international community is most
concerned with at the moment,” Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing.

“If the G7 is taken hostage by the selfish interests of
certain countries, then this probably won’t be beneficial to the
G7’s influence, role and future development.”

Earlier on Monday, the G7 foreign ministers said after
meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima that they opposed “any
intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that
could alter the status quo and increase tensions”.

In an apparent reference to China’s territorial spat with
the Philippines, the group also called on countries to observe
international maritime laws and implement any binding judgments
delivered by courts and tribunals.

Manila has asked the International Court of Arbitration in
the Hague to decide on its dispute with Beijing, which has said
it does not recognise the case. A ruling is expected by June.

China is building islands on reefs in the South China Sea to
bolster its claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan
and Vietnam also have claims on the waters, that are believed to
have huge deposits of oil and gas and through which an estimated
$5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly in TOKYO and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING;
Editing by Michael Perry and Mike Collett-White)

The article UPDATE 1-G7 foreign ministers oppose provocation in East and South China Seas was originally published at Reuters - US Energy.