The South China Sea issue is not a problem between China and ASEAN, nor between China and the United States, let alone between the United States and ASEAN, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday in Beijing.
"The South China Sea issue involves China and a few members of ASEAN," Geng said at a daily press briefing. "We hope that countries outside the region could respect efforts made by countries within the region for peace and stability in the South China Sea."
Geng's comments follow reports that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will hold an informal meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers on May 4 in Washington. It has been suggested that the South China Sea issue and China's sovereignty of the area could be discussed.
Geng said the situation in the South China Sea is becoming stable thanks to joint efforts from China and ASEAN countries.
The hard-won results must be cherished and safeguarded by all sides, he said.