World / Asia-Pacific

Experts issue call for Manila to negotiate

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-28 03:42

At the seminar, many experts voiced opposition to the United States, which is not directly involved in the South China Sea issue, supporting the Philippines in the region to achieve Washington's foreign policy goal of realizing a strategic Asia-Pacific pivot by containing China.

Tom Zwart, a professor at the School of Law at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said: "The US should not get involved, because it is not a direct stakeholder in this issue. I suggest that this is an issue for the countries in the region to seek a solution through negotiation."

Zwart said he does not mean to take sides in the dispute, but he insisted that the US should not use the rule of international law to serve its own foreign policy interests by boosting its strategic presence in the region.

"Instead, I believe the best way is to go back to the negotiating table in an Asian way," said Zwart, a former senior counsel for the Dutch deputy prime minister.

He said historically, China and other countries in the region have been able to resolve their differences in a way that is mutually agreeable, and will be able to do so in the future.

Zwart added, "Regarding the complexity of this dispute, with so many parties and interests involved, you could not deal with it within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, because the treaty does not offer procedures to solve the problem.

"So China and its neighbors must sit down to discuss the solutions by themselves."

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