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Diplomatic efforts to solve South China Sea disputes not to be blocked: official
Diplomatic efforts to solve the South China Sea disputes will not be blocked by "a scrap of paper" from an arbitral tribunal nor by "a fleet of aircraft carriers," Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said Tuesday.
"China remains committed to negotiation and consultations with other parties (in the South China Sea). This position has never changed and will not change," Cui said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank.
His remark came after the tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated in 2013 by the former Philippine government issued its award earlier on Tuesday, which sweepingly sided with Manila's claims.
"Such absurd proceedings were taking place in combination with military coercion — with mounting activities by destroyers, aircraft carriers, strategic bombers, reconnaissance planes and many others," Cui said. "I believe this is an outright manifestation of 'might is right.' "
By opposing and rejecting the arbitration, China is safeguarding its own interests and defending international justice and the true spirit of international law, the ambassador said.
"We will not yield to any pressure, be it in the form of military activities, media criticism or some self-claimed legal bodies," he said. "And we will certainly not make deals with our core interest just for a few words of praise."
The ambassador reiterated that China firmly stands for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, as sea lanes there are the economic lifelines for China and many other regional countries.
However, he expressed concerns over the assembly of aircraft carriers, airplanes and sophisticated weapons in the region, warning that it could pose a real threat to the freedom of navigation of commercial and civilian vessels.
"Such a concentration of fire power, anywhere in the world, would be a source of concern," he noted.
Cui said the tensions in the South China Sea started to rise about five or six years ago, about the same time when the world began to hear about the U.S. "pivoting to Asia" policy, and the disputes intensified in the last few years.
"If Asia-Pacific is destabilized, if the momentum of regional economic growth is weakened, if armed conflict started, everybody' s interest will be hurt," Cui said.
On the relations between China and the United States, Cui said the territorial issue in the South China Sea should not become an issue between them, nor should it be seen as part of a "strategic rivalry."
A Cold War mentality will not solve the problems of today' s world, Cui said, calling for partnership among countries and new international relationships centered on win-win cooperation.
"We are here to see what kind of choices the U.S. will make: how you see the world today, how you see China' s development, and how you see the relationship between our two countries," he said.
[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 12Jul16]
East China Sea Conflict
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