MOSCOW, July 14./TASS/. Russia does not intend to get involved and take sides in disputes in the South China Sea, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"Russia’s stance is consistent and invariable: we are in favor of seeing the states involved in territorial disputes in the above water area strictly comply with non-use of force and continue search for ways towards a political-diplomatic settlement on the basis of international law, first of all the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," she said.
"We support efforts of ASEAN and the Chinese People’s Republic towards working out a code of conduct in the South China Sea," she added.
"Russia is not participant in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and will not be dragged into them," she said. "We are not taking any sides in principle. We believe that the involved parties must hold relevant consultations and negotiations in the format they themselves determine," she said.
"We highly value the role of the Convention in ensuring supremacy of law in the World ocean," she noted. "It is important to have the provisions of this universal international treaty applied consistently," she added.
China has been for decades involved in a territorial dispute with several countries of the region over a number of islands in the South China Sea, in which Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines are involved in a greater or lesser degree.