South China Sea: India, Japan call upon states to avoid unilateral action

New Delhi, Dec. 12 (ANI): Japan and India have said they will work together under the umbrella of the East Asia Summit to promote inclusive, balanced and open regional architecture and maritime security in the region.

“We stand strongly for ensuring freedom of navigation and over-flight, and unimpeded maritime commerce,” said a joint statement released after summit level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Hyderabad House here on Saturday.

In view of critical importance of the sea lanes of communications in the South China Sea for regional energy security and trade and commerce, which underpins continued peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Rim region, the two Prime Ministers – noting the developments in the South China Sea – called upon all States to avoid unilateral action that could lead to tensions in the region.

They noted, “We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and that all countries must abide by international laws and norms on maritime.”

Both Prime Ministers were of the view that full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea and early conclusion of the negotiations to establish a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by consensus will contribute to peace and stability of the region.

They decided to hold regular close consultations on the issues related to maritime safety and security of sea lanes communication.

China has backed its expansive claims with island-building and naval patrols on the South China Sea, while the US says it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims – by all sides.

The frictions have sparked concern that the area is becoming a flashpoint with global consequences. (ANI)

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