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Declaration by G7 draws strong rebuke
Last Updated: 2016-05-28 07:39 | China Daily
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to speak after US President Barack Obama made remarks at a ceremony on Friday at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that paid tribute to victims of the world's first nuclear attack.[Photo/Agencies]

China expressed strong dissatisfaction on Friday over a declaration issued by the Group of Seven industrialized nations that criticizes China, though not mentioning it by name, for its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.

"As the G7 host, Japan is hyping up the South China Sea issue and fanning the flame of tensions. ... China is strongly dissatisfied with what Japan and the G7 have done," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference.

She urged the G7 member states to honor their commitment to not take sides on the disputes.

In the declaration, the G7 leaders expressed concerns over the situation in the region and called for "peaceful management and settlement of disputes".

The declaration called for maintaining "a rules-based maritime order in accordance with the principles of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea".

In the name of respect for freedom of navigation and overflight, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States said they are committed to "peaceful dispute settlement".

The statement said that countries should make and clarify their claims based on international law, refraining from "unilateral actions" that could increase tensions and not using force or coercion in trying to drive their claims.

Hua said China resolutely safeguards freedom of navigation and overflight, but the navigational freedom of commercial vessels is not the same as the willful trespassing by warships.

She said China opposes the smear campaign by some countries in the name of "navigational freedom".

Lyu Yaodong, a researcher at the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Japan has been willfully internationalizing the South China Sea issue.

It has pushed to include the issue in declarations of the G7 foreign ministers' meeting and the G7 leaders' summit.

"This does disservice to China-Japan relations and threatens regional peace and stability," Lyu said.

Motofumi Asai, former director of the China and Mongolia division of Japan's Foreign Ministry, said Japan has never played a positive, meaningful role in the G7.

Asai criticized Japan for including the South China Sea and Korean Peninsula issues in the summit's declaration.

The former Japanese diplomat said the G7, with its declining influence, will be overshadowed by the G20.

The G20 is a major forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world's major advanced and emerging economies, representing about 85 percent of global gross domestic product, 80 percent of world trade and two-thirds of the world's population.

The G7 declaration stated that global economic recovery continues, but growth remains moderate and uneven.

The leaders said they will use "all policy tools"-monetary, fiscal and structural-to strengthen global demand and address supply constraints, while continuing efforts to put debt on a sustainable path.

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