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

Reuters

SHANGHAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - China said on Monday the UnitedStates, Australia and Japan should not use their alliance as anexcuse to intervene in territorial disputes in the East ChinaSea and South China Sea, and urged them to refrain frominflaming regional tensions.

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop,Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary ofState John Kerry raised the maritime disputes during atrilateral strategic dialogue in Bali, Indonesia.

Relations between China and Japan, the world's second- andthird-largest economies, have been troubled in recent years by arow over tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea knownas 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 sovereigntydisputes over the potentially oil- and gas-rich island chain.

A joint statement from the U.S.-Japan-Australia meetingopposed "coercive or unilateral actions" that could change thestatus quo in the East China Sea and called on claimants tomaritime disputes in the South China Sea to refrain fromdestabilising actions, according to the State Departmentwebsite.

"The United States, Japan and Australia are allies but thisshould not become an excuse to interfere in territorialdisputes, otherwise it will only make the problems morecomplicated and harm the interests of all parties," ChineseForeign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

"We urge the relevant countries to respect facts,distinguish right from wrong, be cautious, and stop all wordsand deeds that are not beneficial to the proper handling of theissue and undermine regional stability," she said in comments onthe ministry website. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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