Ma: Negotiations over South China Sea dispute must be constructive

BEIJING: China’s Permanent Rep­resentative to the United Nations Office at Geneva Ma Zhaoxu stressed that the South China Sea issue must be resolved peacefully through constructive and meaningful negotiations with neighbouring countries.

Drawing on China’s experience in resolving land and territorial boundary issues with neighbouring countries, Ma highlighted that dialogue is key to facilitating consultations that also respect the principle of equality among sovereign states.

“China is a victim in the South China Sea issue. Nonetheless, in order to maintain regional peace and stability, the Chinese side has all along exercised great restraint, and tried our best to handle the South China Sea issue in a responsible and constructive manner,” he explained.

Beijing has continuously highlighted the importance of resolving disputes through discussions in accordance with international law while respecting historical facts.

Together with the Association of South-East-Asian Nations (Asean) member states, China in 2002 became a signatory of the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea.

Combined with consultations on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, the platforms enable states to exchange views, manage differences and enhance cooperation, Ma explained.

“China has always been very positive and constructive in these negotiations and consultations,” he reminded.

China is also party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

A declaration on optional exceptions, made by China in 2006, excluded disputes concerning maritime delimitation, historic bays or titles, as well as military and law enforcement activities from the dispute resolution procedures of Unclos.

He also emphasised that the South China Sea Islands have been part of China’s territory since ancient times. — China Daily/Asia News Network

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