20:54 GMT23 January 2021
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    China on Sunday called on Japan to restrain from intervening in the South China Sea issue as it is not directly concerned in the dispute and has no right to accuse other states, considering its “shameful” history.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida previously said that he would discuss the dispute over territorial claims in the strategic region with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi if he has a chance during the series of Foreign Ministers' meetings involving Asean and other Asian countries. 

    China reacted angrily to Kishida’s remarks, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang saying that the South China Sea arbitration by a UN-backed international panel based in the Hague was utterly and completely invalid.

    "Japan is not a party to the South China Sea issue, and considering its shameful history, it has no rights whatsoever to accuse China on the matter," Lu Kang said, as cited by Xinhua news agency. 

    Earlier this month the Permanent Court of Arbitration found that China had no basis for its expansive claims to territorial waters of the South China – through which roughly $5 trillion in international trade passes each year – handing an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines. Lu Kang emphasized that Beijing's rejection of the court’s ruling is “indeed in accordance with international law and the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea”. 

    The South China Sea disputes involve both island and maritime claims among several sovereign states within the region. China claims most of the sea, but Brunei, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam all have rival claims. 

    Non-claimants want the South China Sea to remain as international waters, with the United States conducting "freedom of navigation" operations. 


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