The US and China clashed on Monday at a high-level maritime security meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Washington claiming it has seen “provocative actions” to further Beijing’s unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, who replied that America was not qualified to make “irresponsible comments” on the matter.
Prime Minister Modi chaired the virtual high-level open debate on maritime security, one of the three landmark events of India’s current presidency of the powerful 15-nation UN body. The meeting was later chaired by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar while foreign ministers and UN envoys made their national statements.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about “some of the critical areas where we see maritime rules and principles being threatened”.
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“In the South China Sea, we’ve seen dangerous encounters between ships at sea and provocative actions to further unlawful maritime claims,” Blinken said, in a thinly veiled attack on China, which covered nearly all of the 1.3 million square miles South China Sea. – China claims. Sea as her sovereign territory.
China has built military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“The United States has expressed concern about actions that intimidate and intimidate other states into legally accessing their maritime resources. And we and other countries, including claimants of the South China Sea, have protested against such behavior and unlawful maritime claims. in the South China Sea,” Blinken said.
“Some may argue that resolving the dispute in the South China Sea is not the business of the United States or any other country that does not claim the islands and waters. But it is the matter, and even more so, the responsibility of each Member State to defend the rules we have all agreed to follow and to resolve maritime disputes peacefully.
“Conflicts in the South China Sea or in any ocean would have serious global security and trade implications. Furthermore, if a state has no ramifications for ignoring these rules, it fuels more impunity and instability everywhere.” Blinken said.
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China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Dai Bing, who spoke last at the meeting, said he would like to point out “that the Security Council is not the right place to discuss the issue of the South China Sea. The US just mentioned the issue of the South China Sea and China firmly oppose this act.”
He said that at present, “with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea remains generally stable. All countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law.”
The Chinese diplomat said Beijing is “determined and able to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea”.
In Washington, he said the US itself is not qualified to make irresponsible comments on the South China Sea issue.
“The US has been fomenting trouble out of thin air, arbitrarily sending sophisticated military ships and aircraft to the South China Sea as provocations and publicly trying to drive a wedge in regional countries, especially the countries involved.
“This country itself has become the greatest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea. The US itself does not join the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), but considers itself a judge of the treaty pointing the finger at other countries,” he said, adding that Washington does not has credibility on maritime issues.
“The hype of the United States in the Security Council is entirely politically motivated. The arbitration tribunal in the South China Sea has violated the principle of state consent,” the Chinese diplomat said, adding that “clear errors have been made in establishing facts and the application of the law and the judgment was invalid and without any binding force.”
He said that China and the ASEAN countries are committed to the full and effective implementation of the declaration under the conduct of the parties in the South China Sea and strive to implement the code of conduct in the South China Sea in an early stage to reach.
Blinken referred to the unanimous and legally binding decision five years ago by the arbitral tribunal established under the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, “firmly dismissing illegal, sizable maritime claims in the South China Sea as being contrary to international law. “
He stressed that Washington has consistently called on all countries to conform their maritime claims to international law of the sea, as reflected in the 1982 treaty.
“This is consistent with the peaceful settlement of disputes and the sovereign equality of member states, which are core principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,” he said, adding that efforts to resolve maritime disputes through threat or use of force is contrary to these principles .
Blinken conveyed Washington’s gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for “bringing us together for this all-important discussion” on maritime security and for “India’s leadership on these issues”, especially in the Indo-Pacific.
He said that despite there being a clear international law that nations have committed to abide by and uphold and despite the indispensable role the maritime order has played in promoting economic activity, security cooperation, scientific innovation and environmental sustainability, “order is seriously threatened.
“I am therefore grateful to India’s leadership for bringing us together today and calling on all nations to renew their efforts to defend and strengthen the maritime rules and principles that we are forging together and committed to upholding.”
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