China slams US official for 'driving a wedge' after Delhi comments on NSG

Beijing accused Washington of attempting "to drive a wedge" between China and its neighbours, after the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon strongly hit out at China in a speech during his first visit to India in his new position.

India and China flags.

China today strongly hit out at a top United States official for his comments made during a speech in New Delhi where he described China's actions in the South China Sea as "madness" and also accused Beijing of derailing India's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid.
Beijing accused Washington of attempting "to drive a wedge" between China and its neighbours, after the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon strongly hit out at China in a speech during his first visit to India in his new position.
ROW OVER THOMAS SHANNON'S COMMENTS
Shannon has angered Beijing with his description of China's moves in the South China Sea as "madness" - using surprisingly undiplomatic language - with the Foreign Ministry saying it was "strongly dissatisfied". The US official had also said that Beijing's moves of building runways and carrying out reclamation work was also aimed at paving the way for a greater presence for China in the Indian Ocean, and that Washington would work with New Delhi to protect its security interests.
In an interaction at the Foreign Services Institute in New Delhi, Shannon also pointed the finger at China for blocking India's entry into the NSG at the June 24 plenary in Seoul.  While Beijing has insisted that several countries had voiced concerns on India's status as a non-NPT country, Shannon was quoted as saying "one country could break consensus" of the NSG.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei hit out at Shannon at a press briefing on Thursday. On his comments on the NSG plenary, he said, " We want to point out that this official shows no regard to facts. In the plenary meeting in Seoul India's accession was not on the agenda of this meeting and the meeting did not discuss the accession of any specific country into the group."
"The news release following the plenary," he added, "said the meeting discussed the legal, political and technical questions concerning accession of relevant countries. "
Hong added that China was  "strongly dissatisfied" with his remarks on the South China Sea. "China's intentions and positions on the South China Sea are very clear," he said. "First is to maintain our sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.  Second is to resolve relevant disputes through dialogue and consultations."
CHINA ACCUSES SHANNON OF TRYING TO CREATE DISCORD
The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Shannon of trying to create discord between China and its neighbours through his remarks. "The remarks made by the U.S. official tries to drive a wedge among regional countries, confuse right from wrong, and are are extremely irresponsible," he said. "We ask the U.S. side to honour its commitments of not taking sides on the South China Sea issue, play a constructive role in the South China Sea and not do the opposite."
Tensions between China and the U.S. have risen in recent months, with the relationship the most strained in years according to many U.S. and Chinese officials and observers.
China has blamed the U.S. for its worsening relations with several neighbours over the South China Sea issue, where Beijing has had run-ins with the Philippines and Vietnam. China has accused the U.S. of tacitly backing those countries.  Relations have also been hit by repeated accusations from the U.S. of hacking attacks and cyber espionage sourced from China that has been directed at U.S. firms.
Beijing has warily watched the recent warming of ties between Delhi and Washington, particularly in the wake of moves to firm up a landmark logistics supply agreement.

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