BEIJING -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Monday criticized the Japanese defense chief's recent remarks on the South China Sea issue, urging Japan to stop going against the consensus of countries in the region.
Spokesman Lu Kang's comments came after Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said Thursday in Washington that she strongly supports US freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and vowed to increase engagement in the waters.
"Japan has not seen, or does not want to see, the trend of times," Lu said.
Lu stressed that countries in the region have agreed to adhere to a "dual-track" approach to deal with the South China Sea issue. The approach calls for disputes to be resolved peacefully through negotiation between directly concerned parties, and for China and ASEAN members to work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Consensus on the South China Sea was reached at both the China-ASEAN leaders' meeting early this month and the China-ASEAN foreign minsters' meeting in July, according to Lu.
China will resolutely safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, Lu said, adding that the nation's determination to properly deal with the South China Sea issue through the "dual-track" approach is unshakable.
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