China doesn’t want a war: foreign ministry spokesperson

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said on Tuesday China does not want any escalation of tensions that may lead to war in the South China Sea.

In a discussion with journalists participating in this year’s China International Press Communication Center’s program, Lu said China promotes engaging in coordination and communication with countries claiming the South China Sea such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam to de-escalate tensions and avoid war.

But he also noted that any government cannot compromise on sovereignty and territory issues.

“China doesn’t want a war. There is no doubt to that fact. We do not want an escalation of tensions,” Lu said.

“And I must be frank here, when it concerns sovereignty and territory – no matter in this government of a big country or a small one – there is no room for compromise, and it is the same with the Chinese government,” he added.

Lu recalled that countries in the South China Sea have sustained stability in the region before the United States government pushed for its “Pivot to Asia” foreign policy in 2010.

“And in past years, due to the disturbances from international forces there are more indeed some escalations of tension,” Lu said.

“But I’m very glad to see that most ASEAN countries now agree with China that we can properly reduce disturbances and achieve joint development through negotiations and consultation,” Lu added.

Early this year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China has offered to ASEAN countries to conclude negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in two years.

He added that China and ASEAN should “shield the negotiations from interference”.

It was in 2017 during the Philippine hosting of ASEAN Summit that parties signed the framework of an agreement for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that prompted to kick off negotiations. PNA