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Russia will not get involved in South China Sea territorial disputes — diplomat

June 10, 16:50 UTC+3
China has for decades been involved in a dispute with many countries in the region over the territorial jurisdiction of a number of islands in the South China Sea
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© AP Photo/Johnson Lai

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. Involving third parties in territorial disputes in the South China Sea will only fan tensions in the region, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Friday.

"Russia is not a party in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and will not be dragged into them," Zakharova said. "We principally do not take any side. We firmly believe that involvement of third parties in these disputes will only fan tensions in the region," she added.

"Consultations and talks on territorial disputes in this region should be held directly by involved parties in the format that they themselves deem appropriate. We proceed from the fact that the key to resolving disagreements in the region may become the construction of new security architecture in the Asia-Pacific based on collective non-bloc approaches and norms of international law," she said.

"We call on all partners to actively participate in the implementation of the Russian initiative on developing framework principles of strengthening security and cooperation in the Asia Pacific. On our part, we will continue supporting the efforts of China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries in developing a code of conduct in the South China Sea," she concluded.

Beijing has for decades been involved in a dispute with many countries in the region over the territorial jurisdiction of a number of islands in the South China Sea, where significant reserves of hydrocarbons have been found. This refers, above all, to the Xisha archipelago (the Paracel Islands), the Nansha Islands (the Spratly Islands) and Huangyan Island. Other countries involved in the dispute are Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. As of the end of 2013, China has been engaged in large-scale hydro-engineering and construction work on the expansion and development of the territories under its control.

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