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‘Our position is consistent and clear’ – MOFA spox on South China Sea row as ASEAN troops launch joint maritime drills

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« China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said that her country’s position was ‘consistent and clear’ amid recent South China Sea tensions, as troops from ASEAN countries launched their first joint drills in Indonesia, during a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.
« On the South China Sea issue, our position is consistent and clear, » she told reporters.
The ASEAN drills were moved from a location in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims as part of its territory. Hundred of troops, including warships from Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore, will take part in the ASEX 01-Natuna drills, according to media reports.
Earlier, ASEAN members – the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam – as well as Taiwan rejected the ’10-dash-line’ map released by China showing its claim in the area, while Manila also accused Beijing of harassing its boats.
China rejected the criticism of the map and said it would continue to take ‘necessary measures’ to protect its ‘sovereignty and maritime rights and interests’.
Asked about a study by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, which claimed that US firms in China were now the least optimistic about the next five years than they had been since the survey began, the spokesperson claimed that China’s economy was ‘resilient, has great potential, and is full of vitality’.
« Its long-term fundamentals for the better have not changed, and the outstanding advantages of a super-large market and a complete industrial system have not changed. Recently, China has also introduced a series of targeted measures, such as increasing efforts to attract foreign investment, which have also been widely welcomed by domestic and foreign investors, » she said.
She also commented on the third upcoming Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in October, China’s flagship infrastructure and investment initiative, saying that preparations were going ‘smoothly and methodically’.
« Activities during the Forum include three high-level forums on the opening ceremony, connectivity, green development, and the digital economy, as well as six thematic forums on smooth trade, people-to-people connectivity, think-tank exchanges, the incorruptible Silk Road, local co-operation, and marine co-operation, as well as entrepreneurs’ conferences, » she explained.
Mao Ning added that representatives from over 110 countries will take part. »

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