China lodges formal protest after G7 criticism of sea disputes

China summoned the Japanese ambassador and the deputy ambassadors of all other Group of Seven (G7) embassies after the group's foreign ministers said they strongly opposed provocation in disputed areas in the East and South China Seas.

China also summoned the officials to Beijing's Foreign Ministry to lodge formal protest, dpa learned from diplomatic sources.  

"We urge the G7 member states to honour their commitment of not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said earlier on Tuesday. 

Foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States on Monday said they opposed "any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions" in the seas.

The group of advanced economies issued the statement after convening in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including small islands hundreds of kilometres from its southern coast.

Four countries in South-East Asia have unresolved territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea, which has important shipping lanes and potential oil and other natural resources.

Japan and China have three main disputes involving the East China Sea: the Senkaku Islands, their respective air defence identification zones, and gas field development. 

China deployed two batteries of sophisticated surface-to-air missile launchers to a disputed island in the South China Sea, according to media reports in February.

In January, a US warship sailed into the area of the South China Sea containing the Paracel Islands group, and within 12 nautical miles (21 kilometres) of Zhongjian Island, or Triton Island in English.

A Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman called the move at the time "a deliberate provocation."

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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