Beijing: Days after India and China discussed the issue of oil exploration in the South China Sea, Beijing on Monday warned that it did not want foreign companies engage in activities in the disputed waters, saying such acts undermine its sovereignty.

Oil exploration activities by India's ONGC Videsh in the waters off Vietnam had recently irked China and the two countries had differences over the issue.

The South China Sea dispute figured in talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Bali last week on sidelines of East Asia and ASEAN summits.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a media briefing today that the country has more than once made it clear that it did not want outside forces involved in the dispute.

About the South China Sea issue figuring in the Singh-Wen talks, Liu said "as for the discussion on South China Sea issue, China has expounded its position many times".

"We don't hope to see outside forces involved in the South China Sea dispute, and do not want to see foreign companies engage in activities that will undermine China's sovereignty and rights and interests," he said.

His reference was apparently to ONGC-Videsh undertaking oil exploration in two blocks claimed by Vietnam.

India has already said that exploration of oil and gas in the South China Sea was purely a commercial activity and the dispute should be sorted out under the international laws and practices.

China for its part maintains that the dispute involving it, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia should be resolved bilaterally with these countries.

However, Liu sounded upbeat over the outcome of last week's meeting between the Prime Ministers and said "no power" can prevent the two countries from advancing their ties.

"During the meeting, the Chinese side expressed willingness to work with the Indian side to pursue the path of friendship and cooperation, and push forward bilateral relations," Liu said.
   
(Agencies)