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Interview: Arbitration not helpful to solve South China Sea dispute: Bulgarian expert

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

06-16-2016 08:51 BJT

Full coverage: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

SOFIA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The South China Sea issue should be resolved only by the concerned countries, and international arbitration would not be helpful, a prominent Bulgarian expert on China told Xinhua in an interview here on Tuesday.

China has sovereign rights and interests over the South China Sea since ancient times, said Prof. Nako Stefanov, who wrote the books "China Social-Economic Development from Ancient Times until Now" and "Innovation Development of East Asian Countries", and until recently was the head of East-Asian Studies department at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".

There are enough historical grounds that the South China Sea was a part of the maritime territories of China in the Han Dynasty, for example, and other Chinese dynasties, Stefanov said.

Speaking about the current tensions in the region, Stefanov said "international arbitration will not help to solve this problem. It is clear."

The 2011 agreement between China and ASEAN countries is a very good ground for discussions to solve the disputes in this area, Stefanov said.

The absence of military and surveillance vessels and airplanes of the United States and other countries, which have no maritime borders with the South China Sea, should be the first step to finding a solution, Stefanov said.

The second step, he said, should be to convene a conference of the countries involved in the dispute, and discuss how to solve the problem, based on the 2011 agreement.

The countries involved in the dispute should solve the issue "based on win-win development," Stefanov said.

The interference of countries which are outside of the area would not reduce the tension but vice versa, he said.

"This interference from forces and countries, which are outside of the area, is raising the tension not only in the South China Sea space and area, but I think at the global level also," Stefanov said.

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