Chinese diplomat says International criticism of China over the disputed South China Sea will rebound like a coiled spring, as a U.S. warship visited Shanghai against a backdrop of rising tension in the region.
China claims almost all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which more than five trillion dollars of trade passes each year.
The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
China’s increasingly assertive moves in the waters, including building artificial islands and air strips, have rattled nerves, with the Group of Seven, G7, advanced economies warning last month they opposed provocation there.
Director-General of Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, Ouyang Yujing, said China took note of the criticism.
“Of course we’re willing to take on board constructive comments and criticism by the relevant countries,” Ouyang said during a news briefing.
“But if they are aimed at putting pressure on China or blackening its name, then you can view it like a spring, which has an applied force and a counterforce. The more the pressure, the greater the reaction.”
U.S. officials have expressed concern that the ruling, expected soon, could prompt China to declare an air defence identification zone, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.
China has neither confirmed nor denied it could do that.
Last Friday, the U.S. Defense Department said “China had denied a request for the 7th Fleet’s aircraft carrier strike group, to visit Hong Kong”.
Still, China has allowed the 7th Fleet’s command ship, the USS Blue Ridge, to visit Shanghai, where on Friday, Joseph Aucoin, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, declined to speculate on the reason for the cancellation of the Hong Kong visit.
“I’m not going to let that get in the way of fostering better relations with the country and especially with their navy,” he told reporters at Shanghai’s dock.