US, China block horns during pioneering UNSC maritime security debate led by India

As India launched the first-ever stand-alone discussion on “maritime security” at the United Nations Security Council on Monday, the United States and China clashed over the issue of freedom of navigation in the Indo region. peaceful.

China attacked the Quad, accusing “a few countries” of “pursuing an exclusive regional strategy in the Asia-Pacific region with the aim of creating an intensified maritime conflict.” The Quad, officially known as the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue,” is a forum for the exchange of strategic intelligence and the conduct of joint military exercises between four countries: the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

Officially, the organization was conceived as a place of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific zone to protect shared security and other interests. Observers, on the other hand, believe the Quad is designed to challenge China’s recent military and economic development.

The United States, represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an indirect reference to China, said the rules-based international order was “seriously threatened”.

“In the South China Sea, we have seen dangerous encounters between ships at sea and provocative actions to advance illegal maritime claims,” Blinken said.

China has built military bases on man-made islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“The United States has made clear its concerns about actions that intimidate and intimidate other states into lawfully accessing their maritime resources. And we and other countries, including South China Sea claimants, have protested against such behavior and illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea, ”he said.

“Some may argue that resolving the South China Sea dispute is not the business of the United States or any other country that is not a claimant of the islands and waters. But it is the business, and more importantly, the responsibility of each Member State to uphold the rules that we have all agreed to follow and to settle maritime disputes peacefully. A conflict in the South China Sea or any ocean would have serious global security and trade consequences. Moreover, when a state does not suffer any consequences for having ignored these rules, it fuels greater impunity and greater instability everywhere, ”said the leader.

China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Dai Bing, speaking last at the meeting, said he wished “to stress that the Security Council is not the right place to discuss the issue of the Southern China. The United States just mentioned the South China Sea issue and China strongly opposes this act. “

He said that at present “thanks to the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea remains generally stable. All countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law. “

The Chinese diplomat said Beijing was “determined and capable of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

Speaking to Washington, he said the United States itself was not qualified to make irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue.

“The United States has sown trouble from nothing, by arbitrarily sending advanced military ships and planes into the South China Sea as a provocation and publicly trying to drive a wedge into countries in the region. , in particular the countries concerned. This country itself has become the greatest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea. The United States itself does not adhere to UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) but sees itself as a judge of the Convention pointing fingers at other countries, “he said. , adding that Washington had no credibility on maritime issues.

“The US hype in the Security Council is driven entirely by political considerations. The South China Sea Arbitration Tribunal violated the principle of state consent, ”the Chinese diplomat said, adding that“ there had been obvious errors in the determination of the facts and the application of the law and that his sentence was invalid and not binding ”.

He said China and ASEAN countries are committed to fully and effectively implementing the South China Sea Conduct of Parties declaration and strive to achieve the code of conduct at sea. from southern China at an early date.

In the context of China’s rejection of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – UNCLOS judgment in 2016 vis-à-vis the Philippines – the outcome document on maritime security which emphasized the primacy of international law, was a major development.

However, it was not without its share of obstacles, CNN-News18 has learned. China is believed to have held its ground until the very end of the discussion, on language related to UNCLOS.

It is also the very first UNSC outcome document adopted on the issue of maritime safety.

In accordance with practice, the “Presidential Declaration” must be adopted unanimously. But Indian negotiators managed to find a language acceptable to all. It was without dropping the reference to UNCLOS.

Four heads of government / state and 10 ministers, including seven foreign ministers, participated in the Indian initiative at the UNSC.

India has also succeeded in securing an open debate on maritime security. So far, the UNSC has discussed limited aspects of maritime security, such as maritime piracy and crime.

Vietnam’s past attempts in April 2021 and Equatorial Guinea in February 2019 for a full discussion were unsuccessful.

With PTI entries

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