China's President Xi Jinping, in a thinly-veiled remark at the US, said regional territorial tensions like the South China Sea dispute must be resolved by the parties directly involved and that "outsiders" have no role to play in it.
He also added that Beijing is committed towards peace and stability in the South China Sea but warned it would protect its sovereign rights. While speaking to a group of foreign ministers from Asia and Middle East, he said: "We insist we should peacefully resolve the disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations with other parties directly involved."
Tensions in the South China Sea have been escalating in recent months with rival parties stepping up their claims. Washington has also staged a series of naval and aerial patrols in the region, adding more fuel to the fire. Beijing claims the mineral-rich South China Sea in entirety but the region, along with chains of islands, has overlapping claims from several nations, including Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
China has also built artificial islands in the disputed waters reportedly for civilian purposes.
Meanwhile, the Chinese leader also promised that he would not allow the Korean peninsula tensions to slip out of control. Pledging that the region would not plunge into chaos due to the actions of the neighbouring North Korea, Xi said: "As a close neighbour of the peninsula, we will absolutely not permit war or chaos on the peninsula. This situation would not benefit anyone."
He added: "China fully complies with the UN Security Council resolution on North Korea.... We stand for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, call for maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, stand for resolving problems through dialogue."
The Korean peninsula remains volatile following the North's fourth nuclear test in January and the long-range rocket launch in February.