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South China Sea

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 1st March 2016.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Conservative, Solihull

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received on the installation by China of missile launchers on Woody Island in the South China Sea; what representations he has made to China on that matter; and if he will discuss with his Japanese counterpart what steps the UK and Japan can take to oppose the militarisation of the South China Sea.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

We are very concerned about Chinese missile deployments on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands as reported in the media on 17 February. We oppose any actions which are likely to increase tensions in the South China Sea, including militarisation. We urge all parties to exercise restraint, to pursue the settlement of disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, and to uphold freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) has held detailed discussions with his Japanese counterpart about the South China Sea, most recently, during his visit to Japan in January for the annual UK-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial talks. Following those meetings the UK and Japan released a joint statement setting out our shared concerns about the situation in the South China Sea, calling on all parties to refrain from activities that increase tension and to pursue urgently the settlement of the maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law.

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