China says APEC not venue for South China Sea discussion

Updated: 2015-11-11 19:43


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BEIJING - China said on Wednesday that the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is not an appropriate place to discuss the South China Sea issue, after the US State Department claimed the topic would come up during the gathering.

A State Department spokesperson reportedly said the United States and its allies would discuss regional disputes over sovereignty in the South China Sea on the sidelines of the APEC summit, though it is not on the formal agenda of the event, which is scheduled on Nov. 17 to 19 in Manila.

As the most important economic and trade forum in the Asia-Pacific region, APEC has avoided talk of political and security issues, as agreed by most of its members, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing.

Not discussing sensitive issues is a fundamental precondition for APEC's existence and development, said Hong, stressing that "APEC is not an appropriate place to discuss the South China Sea issue."

"As host of the APEC summit, the Philippines has said no political or security issues will be, or should be, on the agenda," he added.