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Int'l community calls for peaceful solution to South China Sea issue, opposes internationalization

(Xinhua)    09:24, May 11, 2016
Int'l community calls for peaceful solution to South China Sea issue, opposes internationalization
Photo taken on April 5, 2016 shows the lighthouse on Zhubi Reef of Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, south China. (Xinhua file photo)

Photo taken on April 5, 2016 shows the lighthouse on Zhubi Reef of Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, south China. (Xinhua file photo)

BEIJING, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Countries around the world have voiced their support for a peaceful negotiation on the South China Sea issue between the parties directly concerned, opposing its internationalization.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that any disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved through dialogue and attempts to internationalize the issue must be stopped.

"We believe that all countries involved in the disputes should follow the principles of non-use of force, and continue seeking mutually acceptable political and diplomatic solutions," Lavrov said in a joint interview with Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian media in Moscow.

He urged external players to stop interfering in the negotiations among the parties directly involved.

"I am convinced that they (attempts to internationalize the issue) are completely counterproductive," said Lavrov. "Only negotiations, which China and the ASEAN are pursuing, can bring the desired result, namely, mutually acceptable agreements."

The core of the Beijing-Manila South China Sea dispute is a territorial one, caused by the illegal occupation of some of China's islands and reefs since the 1970s by the Philippines, and an issue of maritime delimitation.

The Philippines' unilateral arbitration of the dispute violates the basic principles of international law and undermines the integrity and authority of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS).

In his analysis published on the latest issue of Executive Intelligence Review, the publication's Washington Bureau Chief William Jones denounced Western media for depicting China's claims to the Nansha and Xisha Islands as a Chinese "power grab," arguing that for most of China's history, these claims had never been contested.

Throughout the region's history, Chinese conducted extensive activities on the islands, including fishing and planting, and some Chinese even lived on the islands for years.

He believed that countries in the region had a path to peacefully resolving the conflicts of their territorial claims, but Washington was actively sabotaging the efforts.

"China is clearly aware of the conflicts that have arisen with its neighbors over its attempt to make good on its claims," said Jones in the article. "It is also concerned to maintain amicable relations with its neighbors, and is therefore engaged in coming to agreements with the various claimants through a process of bilateral negotiations."

However, the Philippines has taken its dispute with China to arbitration. And with the blessing of the United States, the Philippines is hoping that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will rule in its favor, he said.

He even made an accurate analogy to display the hypocrisy of the U.S. rhetoric.

"Remember that the United States in 1872 sent General John Schofield to the then independent kingdom of Hawaii to investigate those islands for the purpose of eventually putting U.S. military facilities on an advanced perimeter in the Pacific," said the article.

"But the Hawaiian Islands are 2,390 miles from the coast of California, while the Nansha Islands are 500 miles from the Chinese coast and the Xisha only 180 miles. And while the United States had no claim to the Hawaiian Islands (but would soon annex them in rather murky circumstances), China does have such a claim, a claim which was once universally recognized," Jones argued.

In a communique issued after the 14th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and India last month, the three countries agreed that all related disputes should be addressed through negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned.

The ministers called for full respect of all provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea(DOC) and the Guidelines for the implementation of the DOC.

In the Pacific region, China reached consensus with Brunei, Cambodia, Laos on South China Sea issue last month, opposing any attempt to unilaterally impose an agenda on other countries.

The four countries agreed that territorial and maritime disputes should be resolved through consultations and negotiations by parties directly concerned under Article 4 of the DOC.

Laos agreed that maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development of the South China Sea area is in line with the common interests of regional countries, calling on the parties directly concerned to resolve disputes peacefully through negotiation.

Fiji called on parties directly concerned to stay committed to peaceful settlement of disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with bilateral agreements and the DOC, adding that international judicial and arbitration bodies should fully respect the declaration on optional exceptions made by countries under Article 298 of the UNCLOS.

In Africa, Sudan and Gambia have expressed their support for China. Sudan has urged all the conflicting parties in the South China Sea issue to resort to peaceful settlement, and highlighted the Article 298 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Gambia has declared its support for the Chinese government's position on the ongoing dispute, saying that the Philippines' arbitration is unilateral and at variance with the letter and spirit of the bilateral instruments and the DOC that call for settlement of their disputes through negotiations.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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