MANILA – With the ongoing South China Sea disputes, the Chinese state media warned the possibility of war should the United States continue to intervene with their reclamation activities.
To this, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) only shrugged off such mentions of war.
“Any talk of war is unfounded and irresponsible. Countries involved in the South China Sea disputes must strive to settle their differences in a peaceful manner and in accordance with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a press briefing.
The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid, stated that a war between China and the United States was ‘inevitable’ with the latter taking part in the territorial disputes. The US, however, would not withdraw as it vowed to help ‘rebalance Asia.’
“The US and other responsible members of the international community have a legitimate interest in what is happening in the South China Sea, because at stake right now are freedom of navigation, the unimpeded flow of commerce and the destruction of marine environment and ecosystem,” Jose explained.
As of now, China has continued its reclamation works. The US then sent a spy plane for air patrols, monitoring the progress of the artificial islands. The Philippines, for its part, will also conduct air and sea patrols over the disputed waters.
“We don’t recognize the sovereignty of China over these areas,” Jose said.
Taking diplomatic steps to settle the maritime disputes, the Philippines had already filed an arbitration case at the Hague-based arbitral tribunal. China, however, refused to attend the hearings set for July this year.
The DFA recently hosted a seminar-workshop on the 2002 Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) implementation.
One topic discussed was ‘how provisions of the DOC are to be operationalized, including … the nonuse of force and the exercise of self-restraint among parties to the dispute.’
On the next Asean-China working group meeting, the topics in the seminar-workshop will be raised, in the making of the binding code of conduct in the South China Sea.