Holding that there lay no military solution to the South China Sea problem, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday asked China and the Philippines to abide by the recent ruling of an international tribunal on the dispute.
An enormous amount of energy has been spent in establishing the international order after the World War II and it should be respected, he said. Citing the resolution of maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and India, Kerry said the world can learn from India to abide by international tribunals’ orders. “India’s decision to accept an international tribunal judgement regarding its maritime border with Bangladesh actually stands apart. This is the model to help potentially dangerous disputes in different danger spots…These can be resolved peacefully, including the South China Sea (dispute),” he said at IIT Delhi.
Kerry said that states should resolve disputes through peaceful means, and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes. China has been getting increasingly assertive in South China Sea notwithstanding the verdict of an arbitration court in The Hague that China had no historical title over the South China Sea. “The United States continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry said.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than USD 5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have challenged China’s claim.
Replying to questions, Kerry said the US supported diplomatic efforts to resolve territorial disputes to which there was “no military solution”.
“We are also interested in not fanning the flames of conflict but rather trying to encourage the parties to resolve their disputes and claims through the legal process and through diplomacy,” he said.
He said even for an instant, one should not underestimate the importance of the world order. “We have spent enormous energy in the aftermath of World War 11 in order to (build it). It has served us well. It has helped us bring an end to the cold war and it has helped us set on a new course in the 21st century. So it is important to us to respect the international order, to show respect for international law and to support regional stability and prosperity,” Kerry said.