China warns U.S, Japan, Australia not to gang up in sea disputes

China warns U.S, Japan, Australia not to gang up in sea disputes
Secretary of State John Kerry.

SHANGHAI - China said on Monday the United States, Australia and Japan should not use their alliance as an excuse to intervene in territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and urged them to refrain from inflaming regional tensions.

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and US Secretary of State John Kerry raised the maritime disputes during a trilateral strategic dialogue in Bali, Indonesia.

Relations between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have been troubled in recent years by a row over tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and China are involved in long-standing sovereignty disputes over the potentially oil- and gas-rich island chain.

A joint statement from the US-Japan-Australia meeting opposed "coercive or unilateral actions" that could change the status quo in the East China Sea and called on claimants to maritime disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from destabilising actions, according to the State Department website.

"The United States, Japan and Australia are allies but this should not become an excuse to interfere in territorial disputes, otherwise it will only make the problems more complicated and harm the interests of all parties," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

"We urge the relevant countries to respect facts, distinguish right from wrong, be cautious, and stop all words and deeds that are not beneficial to the proper handling of the issue and undermine regional stability," she said in comments on the ministry website.

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