United States President Barack Obama said the Washington is worried China is using its “sheer size and muscle” to bully smaller countries in the South China Sea.
Obama’s comments come shortly after China protected its construction of artificial islands, explaining it needs to safeguard its sovereignty in the South China Sea. The mineral-rich waters are disputed by China, who has territorial claims in the region, and countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines,Taiwan and Brunei.
“Where we get concerned with China is where it is not necessarily abiding by international norms and rules and is using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions,” Obama said in Jamaica, at an event ahead of a Caribbean summit in Panama.
“We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn’t mean that they can just be elbowed aside”, the Washington leader added.
Chinese officials explained that their projects in the region would be used for military defense, but also to offer services that would be beneficial for other countries as well. The U.S. State Department mentioned that the Chinese activity was provoking anxiety in the area.
Barack Obama also said the United States supports Chinese investments in all parts of the world, but the deals need to be in the interest of the people of those countries.
China has reacted swiftly to Obama’s comments, by saying that the U.S. has no right to accuse anyone of pushing around anyone else.
“You’ve said that the U.S. leader said that China is showing its size and muscle. I think everyone can see very clearly who has the biggest size and muscle in the world. But we have many times explained China’s position on the South China Sea. China has always been a resolute proponent of peace and stability in the South China Sea. We have always proactively advocated using a dual track approach to resolve the South China Sea issue,” was the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
The Chinese official also said China has faith the U.S. can show respect for the hard work of China and other countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and also play a positive role maintaining peace in the region.
Image Source: Great News