October 03, 2015

Significant friction points between US and China: Official

The Obama administration has said there are significant points of friction between China and the US in various issues, including cyber security and South China Sea, but expressed hope that the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping would help both countries address it.
"There are significant friction points in the interaction between China and the US. Whether they are bilateral issues or whether they are global issues, those friction points need to be addressed forthrightly by both sides," the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters yesterday.
Referring to the statements made by the Chinese President during his recent state visit to the White House, Russel hoped that China will take into account the US concerns.
"It is certainly my hope that we will see our concerns taken into account in the way that Chinese authorities treat the US companies and their proprietary information and technology and the way that journalists and academics and others are treated inside China," he said.
"Another important area of difference and concern has been the behaviour of China in the South China Sea. While we have made very clear consistently that the US takes no position on the underlying sovereignty of claims, that mustn't be confused with not having any position on the behaviour of the countries in a sensitive region like the South China Sea," he added.
"We have very strong views. That shouldn't be confused with not having a position on international law and universal rights such as freedom of navigation and overflight," Russel said.
"That is a right that's inherent to every state, not a right that is granted, and certainly not something that should be denied by any one country ? similarly, the right of unimpeded lawful commerce," he said.
According to the US official, it also shouldn't be confused with the fact that the US does take a position that all claims by all claimants should be made in ways that are fully consistent with international law, including and particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
"Now, President Xi Jinping made what I consider to be important statements in his press availability with President Obama on Friday in the Rose Garden. He affirmed China's commitment to peaceful and diplomatic resolution of problems. That's an important commitment," he said.
"The issue of the nine-dash line, for example, is a matter of consideration by the tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and there will be a decision forthcoming on jurisdiction," Russel said.
Referring to Xi's statement that he has no intention of militarising islands or outposts in the South China Sea, in the Spratlys, Russell said: "I believe, offered reassurance and encouragement to China's neighbours, none of whom want to see a continuation of Chinese large-scale construction on these outposts, let alone the deployment of military assets."

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