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11/12/2012

Who are the real trouble makers in the South China Sea Part THREE

Who are the real trouble makers in the South China Sea?

PART     THREE
Dialogue and cooperation the only solution to the South China Sea issue
In recent years, with the rising arms race in the South China Sea region, the countries concerned are vying to purchase advanced weapons and equipment and are intensifying maritime military activities such as military drills and control, posing a threat to regional security. Despite some noises and incidents that raise tension within the region, the overall situation of the South China Sea remains stable and manageable.
All parities concerned should actively seek to solve related disputes through dialogue and consultation. They should refrain from escalating, complicating and internationalizing the disputes and avoid creating conflicts and tension within the region. This services the common interests of all countries including the directly engaged ones.
To maintain freedom and safety of navigation in the region and eliminate the negative impact of traditional and non-traditional security factors is very significant for economic prosperity in East Asia and its surrounding areas and global economic recovery at large.
South China Sea is one of the world’s most important sea lanes. China has always respected the freedom of navigation and overflight that other countries enjoy in the South China Sea according to international laws. It is also ready to work together with other parties concerned to promote international cooperation on maritime security in the region.
Yet, China opposes any outsider meddling with the South China Sea issue using the excuse of “maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.” What littoral states should do right now is to seize the opportunity of economic globalization and regional integration to participate in international economic cooperation and competition so as to enhance economic growth and regional stability.
Exercising self-restraint and seeking consensus while shelving differences is the wise step to take at present to address the South China Sea issue, while consultation, dialogue and pragmatic cooperation will be the only way to its final settlement. China has been fulfilling its commitments to regional stability and development with real actions. Other countries concerned shall also undertake their unshirkable responsibilities and duties.
An important part of dialogue and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries now is to carry out the Guidelines for Implementing the DOC and a series of follow-up actions. One element of the guidelines is to discuss and formulate a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), toward which China’s attitude is open and active. Currently, the most pressing task is for parties concerned to respect and honor the spirit of the DOC, push forward direct negotiations and consultations, and enhance practical cooperation.
This is conducive to not only a peaceful and stable South China Sea but also the common interest of all parties. China stands ready to join hands with other countries concerned to settle related disputes by peaceful means, strengthen mutual trust, avoid misunderstanding, deepen cooperation and develop South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
The author is director of the National Institute for China Sea Studies. The article was originally published in Qiu Shi, the official magazine of the CPC Central Committee. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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