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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday asked the US to “play a constructive role” in maintaining peace and stability in the disputed South China Sea, asserting that Beijing will “unswervingly” safeguard its sovereignty over the area.
Xi made the remarks during a meeting with US President Barack Obama here on the eve of the key summit of G20 nations, where the leaders of the world’s 20 strong economies will meet.
Xi said China will continue to “unswervingly safeguard” its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea (SCS).
“In the meantime, China will stick to peaceful settlement of disputes through consultation and negotiation with parties directly concerned, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea along with ASEAN member states,” Xi was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
After several hours of talks, the White House said the leaders had a “candid exchange” over the arbitration case between China and the Philippines.
Obama also told Xi that the US would keep monitoring China’s commitments on cybersecurity, the White House said.
In the meeting, Xi also said that China is willing to work with the US to ensure bilateral ties stay on the right track.
He urged the two countries to follow the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, deepen mutual trust and collaboration, and manage and control their differences in a constructive manner, in order to push forward continuous, sound and stable development of bilateral ties.
Noting that the city of Hangzhou holds historic significance to Sino-US relations, Xi spoke highly of his previous meetings with Obama since 2013, which “produced important consensus.”
The US has voiced concern over Beijing’s growing assertiveness in key waterways in the region.
The US has urged China to accept an international arbitration panel’s ruling that sided with the Philippines in a dispute over claims in the SCS.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea despite partial counter-claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.