VietNamNet Bridge - China has insisted that the East Sea territorial dispute must be dealt with bilaterally amid the push for multilateral solutions by Southeast Asian officials who will convene in a regional forum this weekend.
The Chinese government’s position on the East Sea “is clear and consistent," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei.
“China always upholds that the East Sea dispute should be resolved in accordance with universally recognized international law through direct negotiation between directly concerned parties," said Hong in a press briefing transcript posted at the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.
Hong made this statement in reaction to the Philippines’ proposal to bring the dispute before the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.
From July 16 to 18, the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Bali, Indonesia, will gather foreign ministers from 27 countries led by the ASEAN as well as key regional players such as the United States, China, North Korea, and Japan.
The forum aims to strengthen regional engagement “through confidence-building measures and preventive diplomacy."
The officials who will meet for the forum will tackle not only the East Sea dispute, but also regional security threats such as terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, illegal drug trafficking, disaster and maritime security, and climate-change impacts.