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Amicable consultations is only way out for South China Sea disputes: Chinese envoy

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

06-13-2016 17:41 BJT

Full coverage: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The way that China and Malaysia have developed bilateral relations while managing differences serves an example that amicable consultation is the only right approach to solve the disputes over South China Sea, a Chinese envoy said Monday.

In an article published in the local Star newspaper and Sinchew Daily, Huang Huikang, China's ambassador to Malaysia, said the South China Sea disputes have been hyped up as a hotspot issue in regional security and discussed in almost every regional and international forum, resulting from the high-profile interference of and the manipulation by some powers outside the region.

Among others, the Philippines-China relationship is experiencing severe difficulties since Manila initiated the illegal arbitration unilaterally. On the other hand, Malaysia-China relationship is "at the best time of history" and on the path to the new era of "Diamond 40 Years."

As pointed out by Huang, there is no essential difference between the two pairs of ties. As China's close neighbors, Malaysia and the Philippines have enjoyed traditional friendship with China. Both were the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China among ASEAN states.

"The reason behind such a striking contrast lies in the different ways the two claimants chose to deal with the disputes with China," said Huang.

While Malaysia has consistently been committed to maintaining friendly relationship, properly handling disputes, strengthening cooperation, and enhancing comprehensive strategic partnership with China, the Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, on the contrary, misjudged the international situation and acted as a pawn of an outsider's geopolitical strategy, and chose to confront China, he said.

Malaysia is one of the claimants in the South China Sea, but this has never hindered the development of the bilateral relations. Both sides agreed to deal with disputes through friendly consultations and dialogues, avoiding the issue sabotaging the bilateral relations, said the ambassador.

When the Philippines was unilaterally pursuing the South China Sea arbitration case in May 2014, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited China to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In a Joint Communiqué signed by the leaders, both sides emphasized that "all sovereign states directly concerned shall exercise self-restraint and settle their differences by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations, and in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982."

Both sides recognized that "intervention or involvement of parties not directly concerned could be counter-productive and further complicate the aforementioned differences."

"It is based on such consensus that the two sides have properly managed their differences, pushed forward their relations, benefiting the two peoples and set a good example for regional countries in dealing with disputes," said Huang.

He said China and ASEAN states have consistently engaged in dialogues and communication and maintained overall peace and stability in the South China Sea without interference from powers outside the region. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and ASEAN countries in 2002 has played an indispensable role.

Even after the South China Sea issue heats up, China still sticks to settling disputes through negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way, proposing the "Dual Track Approach", which states that the relevant disputes should be solved by the sovereign states directly concerned through consultation and negotiation, and that the peace and stability in the South China Sea should be maintained through joint efforts of China and ASEAN member states.

The approach is in full accordance with international laws and practices, and has been supported by most of the ASEAN countries including Malaysia and Brunei which are also claimants in the South China Sea, said Huang.

"History will prove again that friendly consultation is the right way to settle the disputes in the South China Sea," he said.

Huang stressed China's strong opposition to the unilateral action by the Philippines and that China's position of non-acceptance and non-participation in the arbitration case will not change.

"The new Philippine government should discard illusions and return to the right track," said the ambassador, urging the Philippines to cease its arbitral proceedings, stop being a pawn anymore and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

For its part, China is standing ready to commit itself to full and effective implementation of the DOC and making continuous efforts with all relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the region, said Huang.

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