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Interview: South China Sea arbitration award solves nothing but causes trouble: senior advisor

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

07-15-2016 08:33 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

SINGAPORE, July 13 (Xinhua) -- "I felt worried about the outcome of South China Sea arbitration award, it solves nothing but causes trouble for many countries," Lee Chian Siong, Senior Advisor to Chairman of China-ASEAN Business Association, told Xinhua here on Wednesday.

Lee said he was "shocked" by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague's ruling on Tuesday.

The tribunal concluded all of the "features" in the South China Sea, including Taiping Island, are legally "rocks". Lee thought this is not well sounded.

When the Chinese government recovered Taiping Island after WWII, it found six freshwater wells and lush plants there.

Lee noted that the arbitration award solves nothing, but causes trouble. He added that the ruling may arouse anxiety on what happens next. "Will the current situation of South China Sea become much more complicated?" Lee added that such questions may be put forward.

Meanwhile, Lee felt optimistic about the possibility that China and the Philippines may settle disputes in South China Sea through negotiations.

"Manila is aware that the ruling is in favor of the Philippines, and the new government behaves prudently. Meanwhile, the Chinese government also does the same, acting rationally," Lee said.

He took the issue of the White Paper for settling relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea by the Chinese government on Wednesday as an example.

"The white paper expounded China's position adequately and systematically," said Lee, "China's reactions are not sentimental, or fierce as certain media described."

When asked about the impact of the Hague's ruling on China-ASEAN relations, Lee, who has been with ASEAN Secretariat for nearly four years, believed that the collaboration between China and ASEAN won't be disturbed by the disputes in South China Sea, as the scope of China-ASEAN cooperation is very wide.

"In fields such as trade, infrastructure, programs aimed to enhance interconnectivity, China-ASEAN cooperation enjoys great potential." Lee said.

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