The Fijian government says a media release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after talks in Beijing between the visiting Fijian Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and his Chinese counterpart incorrectly depicts Fijian policy towards China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Fiji stresses that it does not support China’s proposition on the issue of the South China Sea.
In line with the government’s policy of strict non‑alignment, Fiji enjoys friendly relations with all countries bordering the South China Sea, including China.
The Fijian government says that it also believes in the strict adherence to and enforcement of international law.
Fiji calls on all relevant parties to resolve any territorial disputes by peaceful means under international law.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement had said that Fiji supported China's proposition on the issue of the South China Sea.
Rival countries have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries, but tension has steadily increased in recent years.
China has backed its expansive claims with island‑building and naval patrols, while the US says it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims ‑ by all sides, but seen by many as aimed at China.
The sea is also a major shipping route and home to fishing grounds that supply the livelihoods of people across the region.
China claims by far the largest portion of territory.
Other claimants are Vietnam and Philippines.
Malaysia and Brunei are also laying claim to territory in the South China Sea that they say falls within their economic exclusion zones, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Brunei does not claim any of the disputed islands, but Malaysia claims a small number of islands in the area.
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