China warns Asian countries to be vigilant on U.S strategy in region

By Mei Mei Chu and Liz Lee
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The top diplomat in the Chinese government, Councilor of State Wang Yi, on Tuesday called on Asian countries to remain "vigilant" about the risk of a US strategy affecting geopolitical competition in the South China Sea and others Fueling parts of the region.
Beijing and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work together to clean up "external disturbances" in the South China Sea, Wang said during a joint press conference with the Malaysian Foreign Minister.
"We (China and Malaysia) both believe the South China Sea shouldn't be a place for big power wrestling full of warships," said Wang, who is on a brief tour of Southeast Asia.
"China and ASEAN have the full capacity, wisdom and responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility in the South China Sea."
Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said disputes over the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved through regional dialogue.
China, which has been involved in maritime disputes with other coastal states in the South China Sea for years, has been conducting military exercises in disputed parts of the strategic waterway in recent months, while Washington has accused China of attempting to build a "maritime empire". in the area.
Wang described Washington's "Indo-Pacific" strategy, which aims to see the United States as a trusted partner in the region, as a "security risk" for East Asia.
"What it haunts is to trumpet the old-fashioned Cold War mentality and initiate confrontations between different groups and blocs and fuel geopolitical competition," he said.
"I think all parties see this clearly and will remain vigilant."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously said Washington wants a "free and open" Asia that is not dominated by any country.
During the joint briefing on Tuesday, Malaysian Hishammuddin said China has committed to buying 1.7 million tons of palm oil by 2023 and is committed to promoting shipments of sustainably produced Malaysian palm oil.

(Reporting by Mei Mei Chu and Liz Lee; Editing by Ed Davies)

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