Foreign scholars, politicians and former state leaders urged on Sunday for parties involved in the South China Sea dispute to sit back at the table and settle their differences through peaceful dialogues.
They made the remarks while attending the fifth World Peace Forum at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The South China Sea issue has become more complicated since the tribunal issued its decision on July 12, pushing the issue to become the hottest topic at this year's forum.
Participants shared their views on the proper means of resolving maritime disputes.
"On the tribunal award itself, the question to be asked here, has it made it easier or has it made it more complicated? I believe, in some ways, it has made it more complicated," said Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa, chairman of Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia.
"I think the really issue is that something like the South China Sea, both sides need to sit together and have a discussion," said Shaukat Aziz, former Pakistani Prime Minister.
J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China, also believes that talks are the best way to solve the issue.
"China does not accept the ruling by the international tribunal, but it has repeated that it wants to resolve these problems through consultations and negotiations. The United States supports that approach," he said.
In 2002, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, including the Philippines, signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which stipulates that the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.
"The fault lines between us and among us that we have that we can manage all these problems peacefully, diplomatically without violence," said Surin Pitsuwan, former secretary-general of ASEAN.
"Disputes in the South China Sea does not involve only China, with the other countries bilaterally, it also involves the other countries with other countries, Malaysia and Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. So, it is actually a very complicated situation. As long as everyone is committed towards a negotiated settlement, I'm sure some ways can be found in this regard," said Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa.
Experts say the South China Sea issue should be properly settled or it may cause serious consequences to the region and even the whole world.
"I would reinforce that is for countries sitting aside in a spirit that's familiar to the Chinese, setting aside disputes over sovereignty, and getting on with developing resources and splitting the proceeds, sharing the benefits," said former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr. More on: http://www.cctvplus.com/news/20160717/8027287.shtml#!language=1
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