India, Japan urge Beijing to respect tribunal’s South China Sea ruling

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 00:09 IST
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. (Reuters)

Two days after China rejected the ruling of a United Nations-backed tribunal denying its historical claims over South China Sea, India and Japan on Thursday sent out a message that Beijing should respect

the order.

Referring to the tribunal’s award, a joint statement issued after the Indian and Japanese defence ministers “urged all parties to show utmost respect for the UN Convention on Law of the Seas” without mentioning China. The statement was issued by a PR firm on behalf of the Japanese embassy.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani reaffirmed the importance of respecting international law, peaceful settlement of the disputes and freedom of navigation and overflight. The two sides stressed the importance of “unimpeded lawful commerce” in international waters.

The court in The Hague on Tuesday rejected Beijing’s claims to the resource-rich waters. China has rejected the tribunal’s order as null and void and threatened to impose an air defence over the disputed waters. Beijing boycotted the hearings at the court.

The statement said the two sides agreed that the security of the seas

connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans was “indispensable for peace and prosperity” of the Indo-Pacific region. The security situation in the South China Sea remains fragile, amid aggressive posturing by Beijing that seeks to control the disputed waters.

Nakatani is on a one-day visit to India, cutting short a three-day tour amid rising tensions in the region.

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