France, Germany & UK joins India on safeguarding Freedom of Navigation in South China Sea

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NEW DELHI: France, UK and Germany have expressed concern over prevailing South China China Sea situation a day after India called for safeguarding Freedom of Navigation in the region where China has upped the ante by entering into Vietnam’s EEZ over a month ago.

“We are concerned about the situation in the South China Sea which could lead to insecurity and instability in the region. We call on all coastal States of the South China Sea to take steps and measures that reduce tensions and contribute to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability and safety in the region, including as regards the rights of coastal States in their waters and the freedom and rights of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea,” according to E3 joint statement on the situation in the South China Sea Statement by United Kingdom, France and Germany on the situation in the South China Sea.

As State parties of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), France, Germany, and the United Kingdom underline their interest in the universal application of the Convention which sets out the comprehensive legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas including in the South China Sea must be carried out and which provides the basis for national, regional and global co-operation in the maritime domain, the three European powers noted. They recall in this regard the Arbitration Award rendered under UNCLOS on 12 July 2016.

Furthermore, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom welcomed the on-going negotiations between the ASEAN member States and China in view of achieving a rules-based, co-operative and effective Code of Conduct consistent with UNCLOS in the South China Sea and encourage progress towards its early conclusion.

“South China Sea is part of the global commons. India, therefore, has an abiding interest in the peace and stability in the region. India firmly stands for the freedom of navigation and over-flight, and unimpeded lawful commerce, in the international waters, in accordance with international laws, notably UNCLOS. India also believes that any differences must be resolved peacefully by respecting the legal and diplomatic processes, and without resorting to threat or use of force,” sources said here on Thursday.

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