China deeply expressed its anger and opposition on Tuesday after foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies said they strongly opposed provocation in the East and South China Seas, where China is locked in territorial disputes.

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“We urge the G7 member states to honor their commitment to not taking sides on issues involving territorial disputes,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The G7 ought to concentrate on worldwide economic governance and cooperation against the backdrop of shaky economic growth instead of building up disputes and inciting issues, it added.

G7 foreign ministers after their meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima said on Monday, that they opposed “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions” in the East and South China Seas.

G7 foreign ministers  at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum in Hiroshima, Japan April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas and is building islands on reefs to bolster its claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claimed to parts of the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade passed every year.

China likewise has a different dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

China’s foreign ministry said. We have every right to construct on the Spratly Islands and there are no problems with freedom of navigation and overflight for the East and South China Seas.

China is committed to resolving disputes through bilateral talks with countries directly involved via international law and on the basis of respecting historical facts, to maintain peace and stability while safeguarding its sovereignty, it said.

It rehashed that China will neither acknowledge nor take an interest in any arbitration “illegally forced upon it”, a reference to a case lodged by the Philippines against China.

G7 foreign ministers – mofa.go.jp

“We ask the G7 member states to fully respect the efforts made by countries in the region, stop making irresponsible remarks and all irresponsible actions, and truly play a constructive role for regional peace and stability,” China’s foreign ministry added. – Jason E.

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