SINGAPORE, November 3. /TASS/. The parties to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea should refrain from steps that escalate tensions, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said on Tuesday.
Commenting on the US decision to send guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen to patrol the 12-nautical mile zone around Subi and Mischief reefs in Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, Ryacudu said that "Indonesia wants the South China Sea territorial dispute between United States and China to be resolved peacefully without escalating the current tension" adding that the issues between the two superpowers and claimant countries can affect international trade and economy.
Asked if the freedom of navigation conducted by the United States was helpful or otherwise, Ryamizard said all parties should avoid going to areas that may bring about unwanted incidents. "This action risks further escalation of tensions in the disputed waters," he noted.
At the end of October, Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui summoned US Ambassador to Beijing Max Baucus and lodged a protest with US ship’s passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea. "Despite repeated recent statements and multiple requests by the Chinese side, US sent its military ship USS Lassen to the reefs near China’s Nansha Islands thus creating a threat to China’s sovereignty and security, as well as to security of people and infrastructure on the reefs. This is a serious provocation toward China. The Chinese side expresses strong displeasure and decisive protest to the actions of the American side," the vice minister said. He added that China’s sovereignty over the islands and surrounding waters is undisputable.
Beijing has for decades been involved in a dispute with many countries in the region over the territorial jurisdiction of a number of islands in the South China Sea, where significant reserves of hydrocarbons have been found. This refers, above all, to the Xisha archipelago (the Paracel Islands), the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands) and Huangyan Island. Other countries involved in the dispute are Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. As of the end of 2013, China has been engaged in large-scale hydro-engineering and construction work on the expansion and development of the territories under its control.