India, Vietnam call for peaceful resolution to South China Sea disputes

Hanoi, Sep 3 (IANS) India and Vietnam on Saturday called for peaceful resolution to disputes in the South China sea, and that China should adhere a decision by a UN tribunals on a dispute between it Philippines in the area.

In a joint statement issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the two sides reiterated their desire and determination to work together to maintain peace, stability, growth and prosperity “in Asia and beyond”.

The statement mentioned the award (judgment) by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Attribution (PCA) over strategic reefs and atolls that Beijing claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea. The judgment in favour of the Philippines was given on July 12.

The two countries called upon “all states” to resolve dispute through peaceful means.A

Noting the award, both sides “reiterated their support for peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and over flight, and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea)”.

“Both sides also called on all states to resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability, respect the diplomatic and legal processes, fully observe the Declaration on the Conduct of parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and soon finalize the Code of Conduct (COC),” the joint statement said.

They also recognised that the sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development.

“Vietnam and India, as State Parties to the UNCLOS, urged all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans,” the joint statement said.

Prime Minister Modi is now on an official visit to China, after Vietnam.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on a tour to India, had on Wednesday called upon China to follow India’s example and accept the order of the tribunal.

–IANS

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