European nations join India in seeking restraint in S China Sea

08/31/2019

New Delhi, Aug. 31: Three major European nations, including two permanent members of the UN Security Council, Friday joined India in expressing concern over the recent bout of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

In a joint statement, Germany, France and the UK said: “We call on all coastal States of South China Sea to take steps and measures that reduce tensions and contribute to maintaining and promoting peace... including as regards the rights of coastal States in their waters and the freedom and rights of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.”

The latest provocation began in July and has since continued. A Chinese survey ship has been harassing Vietnam vessels and its oil exploration activity in a maritime zone claimed by both countries. The ship sailed through waters near the Spratly Islands where Vietnam has several oil and gas projects.

India was the first off the blocks on Thursday by pointing out that, “South China Sea is part of the global commons. India, therefore, has an abiding interest in the peace and stability in the region.”

The three European countries pointed out that as State parties of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), they were interested in its universal application, including in South China Sea. UNCLOS stipulates a legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.  Further, the three countries welcomed the ongoing negotiations between the ASEAN member States in view of achieving effective Code of Conduct consistent with UNCLOS.-Agencies

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