China rejects bloc confrontation, zero-sum approach toward maritime disputes: Wang Yi
Published: Nov 08, 2023 04:58 PM
Wang Yi

Wang Yi

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a global maritime forum on Wednesday that disputes over maritime territory and rights and interests that are left from history should be resolved through friendly consultation between parties directly concerned, stressing that bloc confrontation and a zero-sum approach at sea must be firmly rejected.

The South China Sea arbitration is an example of political manipulation of the international rule of law of the sea, Wang said. Since then, it has undermined the atmosphere for maritime peace and cooperation in the region, eroded the basic values of fairness and justice, and should be a cause for alarm and be rejected by the international community, said Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.

At the opening ceremony of the Symposium on Global Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance 2023 on Wednesday, Wang made a speech titled "Working together to make our oceans a peaceful, tranquil, clean and beautiful home with fairness, justice and prosperity."

According to Wang, it is the shared aspiration of all countries and the prevailing trend of our times to strengthen maritime cooperation and improve ocean governance. Meanwhile, the world today is far from tranquility. Maritime development faces unprecedented risks and challenges as Cold War mentality and zero-sum thinking threaten peace and stability at sea. Moreover, climate change and overexploitation are undermining the ocean's sustainable development, environment pollution and willful discharge are damaging the clean and beautiful marine environment; and natural disasters and illegal activities of piracy are disrupting the tranquility and order of the oceans.

Wang stated that all parties should practice true multilateralism and promote just and reasonable international ocean governance. China will firmly uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law. 

He proposed that we should stay committed to dialogue and consultation and safeguarding maritime peace and tranquility. It is important to take the legitimate concerns of all countries seriously, settle disputes and disagreements through dialogue and consultation, continuously improve emergency communication mechanisms and step up regional security cooperation, so as to build solidly grounded and truly lasting maritime security. China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DOC, agree on a COC at an early date, and foster a peaceful and secure order in the South China Sea.

Also, he proposed that all parties should prioritize ecological conservation to preserve clean and beautiful oceans. China attaches great importance to the conservation of marine ecology, pursues a green and low-carbon path to development that prioritizes ecological conservation, commits itself to tackling climate change and enhancing mitigation and preparedness of disasters, and opposes the dumping of nuclear-contaminated wastewater, making its own contribution to sustainable development of the ocean in the world. 

China took an active part in negotiations on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement and was among the first to sign it. China will adhere to the sustainable use of fishery resources, continue the fishing moratorium arrangements and take resolute countermeasures against illegal fishing, the Chinese top diplomat said.

The forum was co-hosted by Hainan Huayang Research Center for Marine Cooperation and Ocean Governance, National Institute for South China Sea Studies and China Oceanic Development Foundation, and was attended by more than 300 representatives from over 30 countries.

Global Times