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