Brunei states commitment to peace in South China Sea
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI Darussalam is fully committed to ensuring maritime security in the South China Sea, including rights to freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as “unimpeded lawful commerce” as prescribed under international law.
In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dato Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Dato Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof said the sultanate urged restraint with regards to any activity that could escalate tensions in the disputed waters, where China has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.
“Brunei Darussalam views the South China Sea as a very important area for maintaining peace, stability and prosperity, especially as much of its trade passes through the South China Sea,” he said.
“We are fully committed to ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes, without resorting to threats or use of force in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”
The South China Sea has sparked several diplomatic rows over who owns lucrative shipping, fishing and exploration rights in the waters. The discord has prompted fears of militarisation of the disputed territory, which could be fraught with potential for larger conflict.
The deputy minister added that Brunei urged all parties to commit to the swift conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC), a legally binding agreement that would govern how claimants behave in the sea.
Claimants signed a non-binding agreement in 2002 dubbed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) promising to refrain from the use of force or activities that would escalate tensions.
“Brunei also remains committed to building confidence and promoting cooperation to address common challenges in maritime issues,” Dato Erywan said.
The Brunei Times