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Friday, June 5, 2015, 12:43

Sea: US urged to lower temperature

By Xinhua

Sea: US urged to lower temperature
This May 10, 2015 US Navy handout photo shows two F/A-18 Super Hornets (left and right) and two Royal Malaysian Air Force SU-30MKM/Flanker H, flying above the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) operating in the South China Sea during a bi-lateral exercise aimed at promoting interoperability with the Malaysian Royal Military. (AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / US NAVY / LT. JONATHAN PFAFF)

WASHINGTON - China hopes the United States will take real actions to "lower the temperature" and reduce tensions over their rift over the South China Sea, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said Thursday.

In an interview with US cable TV news network CNN, Cui said: "So I hope people in the US will refrain from making all the coercive statements, will refrain from making all the coercive actions there."

He was referring to the US call for a halt to China's reclamation activities in the region, while threatening to continue to sending military ships and planes to sail near or fly over the islands and reefs where China is building mainly civilian facilities.

Despite the rising tensions between China and the US caused by the row on the South China Sea, Cui said: "I don't think we should allow this single issue to dominate our bilateral agenda. So I don't think we should go to confrontation and conflicts just over this issue."

Cui rejected the US claim that China was changing the status quo in the South China Sea, citing similar reclamation activities already done by other claimants long time before.

"I think the status quo has been changed by others for a long, long time, so what we are doing is to sort of restore the status quo as it should be. So there's no reason for others to make such (an) accusation against china," Cui said.

The Chinese envoy iterated China's position that its activities in the South China Sea were fully within the scope of its sovereignty and were mainly for civilian purposes, adding that the facilities being built "will mainly help ships of china and other countries."

"Of course, we have some defense facilities there, but it's only for defense," he said.

Cui criticized Washington for continuing to send military reconnaissance planes to the region to spy on China's activities, as it contravened the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Asked whether China intended to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, Cui replied that China had a right to do so, but it would do this based on "our assessment of the situation and we will certainly do it with caution."

He noted that the US was the first country to set up an ADIZ and more than 20 other countries had already done so.

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