BEIJING — China accused the United States of hypocrisy Friday over President Barack Obama’s comments that the rising Asian power is using its “sheer size and muscle” to intimidate other nations in the South China Sea.
Satellite photos published this week showed that Chinese dredgers are effectively building an island of sand on a reef in the Spratly Islands, which the Chinese call the Nansha Islands. The area – appropriately named Mischief Reef – sits off the coasts of Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, all of which have claims on the Spratlys, as do Brunei and Taiwan.
“Where we get concerned with China is where it is not necessarily abiding by international norms and rules and is using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions,” Obama said Thursday in response to a question at a forum in Kingston, Jamaica.
“We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn’t mean that they can just be elbowed aside,” he said.
Asked about Obama’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying suggested that the United States should consider its own history of bullying other countries.
“I think everyone can see very clearly who it is in the world who is using the greatest size and muscle,” she said. She urged the United States to act constructively in resolving the region’s territorial disputes.
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