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Opinion

India concerned about situation in South China Sea ‘eroding confidence’

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In the context of China’s assertive activities in the South China Sea, India on Saturday expressed concern about confidence-eroding actions in the region, saying a proposed code of conduct for disputed waters should not affect interests. legitimate third parties.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar described India’s position on the South China Sea while representing the country at the East Asia Summit, which brings together the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. South Korea, Russia and the United States.

With Chinese Premier Li Keqiang watching, Jaishankar noted the importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, and promoting a rules-based global order.

Without naming China, Jaishankar expressed concern about actions and incidents in the South China Sea that “erode confidence” and said that ongoing negotiations on the proposed code of conduct “should not be detrimental to the legitimate interests of third parties. and they must be fully consistent “with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The minister’s remarks came amid the India-China border clash in the Ladakh sector along the Royal Line of Control (LAC). Both sides have yet to advance in disengagement and de-escalation despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks since the confrontation began in May.

China has been pressing ASEAN members to quickly conclude negotiations for the code of conduct for the South China Sea. Prime Minister Li raised the issue during the ASEAN-China Summit on Thursday, reflecting Beijing’s efforts to consolidate its influence in the region.

The code of conduct aims to regulate activities in the South China Sea, where China is embroiled in disputes with ASEAN members such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

The East Asia Virtual Summit, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in his capacity as ASEAN Chairman, discussed ways to strengthen the platform and make it more responsive to emerging challenges. Jaishankar reaffirmed the importance of the summit as a leader-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues.

He also underscored the need for greater global cooperation in the post-Covid-19 world to address challenges that cross national borders, such as terrorism, climate change, and pandemics. He briefed the summit on India’s response to Covid-19 and reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to help make vaccines accessible and affordable for all nations.

Jaishankar also noted the growing interest in the Indo-Pacific as an “integrated and organic maritime space with Asean at its center.” He noted the synergy between Asean’s Indo-Pacific perspective and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and said: “Harmonizing various perspectives would never be a challenge if there is a commitment to international cooperation.”

The leaders underscored the importance of cooperation to ensure safe, effective and affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines, and sought greater cooperation to keep global supply chains open for a rapid and sustainable economic recovery.

Regional and international issues such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State in Myanmar were also discussed.

The summit adopted the Hanoi Declaration and the declarations of four leaders on marine sustainability, epidemic prevention and response, women, peace and security, and steady growth of the regional economy.

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