BEIJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- China said on Monday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attempted to drive a wedge between countries in the region by raising the South China Sea issue during his recent foreign trip.
Abe visited the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam on his six-day trip that ended Monday, with maritime security high on his agenda.
"Thanks to the joint efforts of China and relevant ASEAN members, the South China Sea situation is stabilizing and getting back on the track of negotiation and consultation," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing.
"But the Japanese leader spared no effort in driving a wedge and playing up the regional tension, showing his ulterior motives and extremely unhealthy mindset," Hua said.
She applauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's adherence to an independent foreign policy and developing friendly and cooperative relations with other countries based on equality and mutual respect.
Hua said China supports the Philippine's rotating presidency for ASEAN in 2017 and will promote the building of ASEAN community and China-ASEAN ties.
She said China is willing to work with ASEAN to focus on development and cooperation, properly handle differences, remain committed to maintaining the big picture of China-ASEAN relationship and contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.