G7 committed to maintain rule-based order in maritime domain

Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), June 8 (IANS) The Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries on Monday said in a declaration that they were committed to maintaining a rule-based order in the maritime domain.

In the declaration, published after the G7 summit held at Schloss Elmau near here, the leaders said they were committed to maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain based on the principles of international law, in particular as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Xinhua reported.

It also said they were concerned by tensions in the East and South China Seas and underlined the importance of peaceful dispute settlement as well as free and unimpeded lawful use of the world’s oceans.

According to the declaration, the leaders strongly opposed the use of intimidation, coercion or force, as well as any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo, such as large scale land reclamation.

China on Thursday reiterated its willingness to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea with southeast Asian neighbours.

“China’s policy on the South China Sea is consistent and clear, and will not change,” Foreign Ministry representative Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

Hua was responding to reports in the Wall Street Journal by saying that China’s island building in the sea does not upset the balance, but restores it.

“I would like to reiterate that relevant activities by China are lawful, justified and reasonable…China never seeks benefits for itself at the expense of others in disregard of the international law, and resolutely safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests in accordance with the law,” Hua told a press conference a day earlier.

Hua said China would also push forward the negotiation on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) and persist in common development and reciprocal cooperation in the South China Sea.

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