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China on Thursday said no third country has the right to explore oil and gas in the South China Sea in areas under its jurisdiction and without its permission. Responding to questions on the India-US-Japan statement on access to navigation and commerce in maritime routes across the world including the South China Sea, China said it has indisputable rights not only on the Spratly (Nansha in Chinese) islands but also on the sea bed around it.

Beijing is locked in disputes with multiple countries in the region over the ownership of islands on the South China Sea and much of the seas around the islands. The list includes Vietnam with which India has an agreement to allow ONGC to explore undersea oil in areas over which China claims jurisdiction.

“China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters as well as sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant seabed and subsoil. China is against any country or enterprise’s oil and gas exploration activity in the waters under China’s jurisdiction without China’s permission,” the ministry of foreign Affairs told reporters in response to a list of questions without mentioning India. China said that existing mechanisms were working well to contain the disputes and that it will not allow countries outside the region to interfere. (Hindustan Times)