The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, yesterday urged Asian countries to remain "vigilant" over the risk of US strategy stoking geopolitical competition in the South China Sea and other parts of the region.
Beijing and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) should work together to remove "external disruption" in the South China Sea, Wang said during a joint news conference with Malaysia's foreign minister.
"We (China and Malaysia) are both of the view that the South China Sea should not be a ground for major power wrestling teeming with warships," said Wang, who is on a short Southeast Asian tour.
"China and Asean have full capacity and wisdom, as well as responsibility, to maintain peace and tranquillity in (the) South China Sea."
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said maritime disputes should be resolved peacefully through regional dialogue.
China has in recent months held military exercises in disputed parts of the strategic waterway, while Washington has accused Beijing of attempting to build a "maritime empire" in the area.
Wang described Washington's "Indo-Pacific" strategy, which aims to cast the United States as a trustworthy partner in the region, as a "security risk" for East Asia.
"What it pursues is to trumpet the old-fashioned cold war mentality and start up confrontation among different groups and blocks, and stoke geopolitical competition," he said.
"I believe all parties sees this clearly and will stay vigilant against it."
WHITE HOUSE MOVES FORWARD ON ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN
Meanwhile, the White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, five sources said on Monday. The move is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.