G7 Foreign Ministers express concern about East Sea situation

The foreign ministers of the Group Seven (G7)- Cananda, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US expressed concern about the situation in the East and South China seas in the communiqué issued following their meeting in Toronto early this week. 

he foreign ministers of the Group Seven (G7) express concern about the situation in the East and South China seas. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

he foreign ministers of the Group Seven (G7) express concern about the situation in the East and South China seas. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

The communiqué read: “We reiterate our commitment to promoting cooperative, international maritime governance, to maintaining a rules-based maritime order based on international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to building trust and ensuring security, and to the peaceful management and settlement of disputes without using the threat of force or coercion and in accordance with international law, including through internationally recognised legal dispute settlement mechanisms, including arbitration.”

The ministers also reiterated their commitment to the freedom of the high seas, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, and to other rights, including the rights and jurisdiction of coastal states and internationally lawful uses of the seas. 

“In this context, we stress the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on the rule of law, and express our intention to work together with ASEAN and other countries in this endeavour,” the communiqué said.

Regarding the East China Sea and South China Sea (which is called the East Sea in Vietnam), the ministers expressed their strong opposition to any unilateral actions that escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order, such as the use of force, large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts, as well as the use of them for military purposes. 

They urged all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, and called for the full and effective implementation of the commitments in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in their entirety. 

The G7 foreign ministers stressed the importance of ongoing negotiations for an effective code of conduct and welcomed an agreement which does not derogate from the rights of parties enjoy under international law or affect the rights of third parties.

“We also recognize that in order to secure stability in the region, such diplomatic efforts should lead to demilitarization of disputed features and a peaceful and open South China Sea in accordance with international law,” the communiqué said.

The ministers said they consider the July 12, 2016, award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal under the UNCLOS as a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the East Sea. 

They reiterated concern regarding the destruction of marine ecosystems in the East Sea, which threatens their sustainability and regional fish stocks, and reaffirm their commitment to increasing international cooperation to enhance protection of the marine environment.-VNA 

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