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Monday, July 16, 2018

G7 Meeting to Tackle Sea Row in Asia Pacific

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 25, 2016

Photo: Public Relations Office, Cabinet Office and Office of Global Communications, Japan

Photo: Public Relations Office, Cabinet Office and Office of Global Communications, Japan

 Group of Seven (G7) leaders will call for respect for the rule of law and peaceful resolution to conflicts in a joint statement to be issued Friday at the end of their two-day summit, taking a swipe against China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, reports Nikkei.

 
The leaders, without singling out China, will dismiss “unilateral actions that could alter the status quo” in a declaration to be issued after their summit, the sources said.
 
The document will not explicitly name Beijing. But it will strongly criticize unilateral actions to change the maritime status quo, in reference to Chinese provocations and military buildup in the East and South China Seas.
 
China claims almost the entire South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which about US$5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.
 
"Basically Japan and the U.S. are trying to get the Europeans on board to express concern about China’s actions," Bloomberg quoted Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan as saying. "Even a veiled statement would be a victory for Tokyo and Washington. It puts Beijing on notice that even countries which first and foremost care about making money in China are worried."
 
China reacted with anger to an April statement by G-7 foreign ministers expressing opposition to any "intimidating, coercive or provocative" actions in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and calling on all parties to act in accordance with international law. That’s even as the statement did not mention the country by name.
 
G7 will seek to “reaffirm the importance of ‘rule of law’,” including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (Unclos), according to Masato Otaka, deputy press secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). 
 
In spite of the implications of the wording, considering China’s refusal to acknowledge UNCLOS in the overlapping claims over the South China Sea, the Japanese diplomat said the discussion was not meant to antagonise the East Asian giant.
 
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