Lavrov tells his counterpart Wang Yi that the issue must be solved peacefully through political means between parties directly concerned.
Russia on Friday backed China’s stand on the disputed South China Sea (SCS) issue and said ‘external’ forces should not interfere in the maritime dispute, an apparent reference to the U.S. presence in the area.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi here and told him that the SCS issue should be resolved peacefully through political means, such as negotiations between the parties directly concerned, while ‘external’ forces should refrain from interfering.
“Follow UNCLOS, international laws”
“The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and international laws, including the pacts reached between China and ASEAN, are the legal frameworks that should be followed,” said Mr. Lavrov, who is here to attend the 5th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and for an official visit to China.
While China, which claims sovereignty over almost all of the SCS, calls for direct talks with parties, it has also opposed UNCLOS arbitration of the Philippines petition.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan oppose China’s claims.
China not for U.S. pivot to Asia
China opposes U.S. pivot to Asia specially spreading its influence in the area by extending backing various claimants.
Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Wang agreed that the SCS disputes should be resolved through negotiations between parties directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and international laws, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“No muddying it up”
The international community and countries outside the region should contribute to stability in the region, rather than muddy up the situation, they agreed.
Regarding China-Russia ties, Mr. Lavrov said the priority of Russia’s foreign policy was to develop relations with China.
‘Willing to work’ with each other
Russia was willing to work with China to prepare for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing and enhance economic and trade, investment, big projects and culture cooperation, he said.
Stressing that China greatly values its cooperation with Russia, Wang said Beijing was ready to work with Moscow to ensure the success of Putin’s China visit.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Sino-Russian Good-Neighbourly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership of coordination, said Mr. Wang. He called on both countries to improve cooperation in the areas of energy, nuclear power, high-speed trains, aviation production and technological innovation as well as people-to-people exchanges.