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South China Sea disputes could be turned into opportunities via dialogue — ex-Albanian official

The South China Sea disputes could be turned into opportunities through dialogue and cooperation, a former Albanian deputy minister has said.

"The South China Sea must not be missed as an opportunity to increase the linked and shared prosperity of Southeast Asian countries and this opportunity could be grasped only through open dialogue and cooperation," said Dorian Ducka, former deputy minister of Energy and Industry of Albania.

"From my experience in international relations and energy diplomacy, I strongly believe only through bilateral and open dialogue and consultations could such disputes be solved in the best way," Ducka said in a written interview with Xinhua on Friday.

"I think these obstacles (disputes) could be turned into opportunities," he said.

The Philippines' unilateral decision to take the South China Sea disputes to the international arbitration court in The Hague has drifted away from the healthy path, Ducka noted.

The Philippines must engage bilaterally with China that has sovereign rights over its territorial waters, said Ducka.

China, the biggest and strongest country in Asia, has always adopted a good and peace-loving neighborhood policy, (and) it has never bullied its neighbors, small or big, he said.

Meanwhile, China also cannot allow any bullying on its sovereign rights and dignity, he added.

Looking back at China's history, despite its vast territory and wealth and military might in different periods of history, China never used the freedom of navigation to conquer other lands and countries. Instead it used its advantages to boost prosperity through trade with different civilizations and countries, he said.

The South China Sea is one of the major maritime routes and key economic corridors for trade and it sees almost one third of global maritime trade pass through, the Albanian energy expert said.

It is in China's interest to keep stable and open cooperation with the related countries, he said.

China has the sovereign rights to explore the South China Sea, the expert said.

He strongly believed that the South China Sea should be a golden opportunity to link more countries, increase their trade, and boost common prosperity and win-win cooperation in resources sharing, on the basis of transparent and open bilateral dialogue.

The peaceful rise of China, of course, raises questions among different countries and groups, but China is a peace-loving country, and history has shown that China could be a great and trustworthy friend in the arena of international relations, he said.

History has also proved that China is a strong guardian of its sovereign rights and it will not allow to be blackmailed for whatever reasons over its sovereign rights.

[Source: Xinhua, Tirana, 18Jun16]

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East China Sea Conflict
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