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South China Sea dispute needs positive, constructive solution: former Romanian ambassador to China

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-08-2016 08:18 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

BUCHAREST, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The South China Sea dispute can only be settled by seeking positive and constructive methods, said former Romanian ambassador to China Romulus Ioan Budura.

Undoubtedly, the Philippines made a serious mistake by unilaterally initiating an arbitration case against China in 2013 over the dispute at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Budura told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Budura believes the dispute should be tackled by diplomatic talks instead of arbitration.

The arbitration initiated unilaterally by the Philippines doesn't help solve the dispute, said Budura, adding that the intervention of outside forces will make the issue more complicated and lead to the escalation of unstable regional situation.

Budura pointed out that taking the South China Sea dispute to arbitration is against the consensus between China and the Philippines to settle disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations.

It is also against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), signed by China and ASEAN countries in 2002, the former ambassador said.

He stressed that the disputes over the territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation in the South China Sea should be resolved through consultation and negotiation by sovereign states directly concerned, adding that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be maintained jointly by China and the ASEAN members.

Budura expressed his support for the position persistently held by China that territorial sovereignty disputes should be resolved through consultations between concerned parties.

According to him, China's sovereignty over the South China Sea islands has been explicitly stated in the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Proclamation, both of which were signed by the allied powers including the United States. For a long time after World War II, none of the countries in the South China Sea area raised any objection to China's sovereignty over the islands.

Nor did the United States dispute China's sovereignty over the South China Sea islands between early 1970s, when the two sides began the process of the normalization of Chinese-U.S. ties, and 1979, when the two countries formally established diplomatic relations, said Budura.

He pointed out that as a sovereign state, China's building of infrastructure for civilian and defense use on its own territory in the South China Sea is incontrovertible, as many other countries had done the same before.

Budura was in China for study in early 1950s and was posted as Romanian ambassador to China between 1990 and 1996. He has long been engaged in China- and Asia-related work and research, and once served as an advisor to then Romanian President Ion Iliescu in 1990s.

Budura recalled that in summer 1964 when he, then a second secretary at the Romanian embassy in China, was tasked with drafting a document on the Romanian government's supporting China's territorial integrity, the document in particular stressed that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands.

He told Xinhua that he hopes negotiations would resume between China and the Philippines earlier, in a bid to solve disputes bilaterally and within the framework of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Even if some issues could not be settled satisfactorily for the moment, both sides still could work towards making the South China Sea a maritime area featuring peaceful development and common prosperity by upholding the principle of shelving differences while seeking joint development, Budura said.

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