China on Friday reaffirmed that it was committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea, rejecting U.S. President Barack Obama's comments that Beijing was using its "sheer size and muscle" to intimidate its neighbors.
"I think everybody can see who has the biggest size and muscle in the world," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a routine press briefing.
During an event in Jamaica on Thursday ahead of a Caribbean summit in Panama, Obama said the U.S. was concerned that China was not abiding by international norms and was using its "size and muscle" to bully smaller claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam.
We hope the U.S. can respect the efforts made by China and ASEAN in resolving the South China Sea issue, and genuinely play a positive, constructive and responsible role in promoting peace and stability in the South China Sea and the region, said Hua.
China has always advocated a "dual track" approach in addressing the South China Sea issue, namely, the relevant disputes should be resolved peacefully through friendly negotiations by the countries directly concerned while peace and stability in the South China Sea be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN, according to Hua.
Currently, China is maintaining active and effective communication with ASEAN members on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the formulation of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, she said.