All you need to know about demilitarization in South China Sea


Image: Wang Yi (R), the Chinese Foreign Minister shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop in Beijing, capital of China.

Wang and Bishop attended the third round of bilateral diplomatic and strategic dialogue in Beijing, China as the Asian country makes a call for joint effort to promote demilitarization in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remark after meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Beijing.

The sit-down comes amid wide media coverage of Chinese missile deployment in the South China Sea. 

The Chinese diplomat says the self-defense facilities that China has built on the islands and reefs in that sea are limited and necessary, and are consistent with self-protection provisions that China is entitled to under international law.

“I hope that media everywhere will turn your attention more to the lighthouses that we have built, which are in operation now and they have been very useful in ensuring the safety of the passing ships in those waters. And the meteorological forecast facilities and the facilities that we are planning to build for providing shelter for providing assistance and rescue and emergency response to the fishing boats in those waters, because I think all of those are actions China, as the biggest state in the South China Sea, has undertaken to provide more public goods and services to the international community and play its positive role there.”

Wang Yi says joint effort is needed to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea.

“The demilitarization benefits all, but it can not be applied to only one country, or with double or even multiple standards. The demilitarization in the South China Sea needs joint effort from both countries in and outside the region. We also noticed that during the just concluded meetings between the US and ASEAN, the two pledged to achieve the demilitarization in the region, we hope they can keep their words.”

For her part, Julie Bishop also reiterated that Australia does not take sides on the issue of sovereignty and urged all sides to maintain peace and stability.

“We had a very forthright and candid discussion about South China Sea. Australia’s position both privately and publicly is consistent, we do not take sides on the competing maritime territorial claim in the South China Sea. We have an interest in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. As does China and other claimants we urge restraints, and we urge all parties settle their differences peacefully.”

The two also discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Wang Yi says the UN Security Council is discussing a new resolution to prevent North Korea from advancing its nuclear program and its missile program.

However he notes that measures to resume the stalled Six-Party talks should be pursued at the same time.

“The dual approach is to address all parties’ concern in a balanced way, and to make it clear that what should be achieved through the talks, to finally resume the Six-Party talks. We think this is a reasonable and practical approach, and can help to solve the nuclear issue fundamentally. China is willing to keep in contact with all parties concerned over this.”

Recently, four U.S. F-22 stealth fighters flew over South Korea’s airspace in a show of force toward North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

The nuclear-capable U.S. fighter jets flew low over Osan Air Base near Seoul at around noon.

The fly-over came in the wake of North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket on Feb. 7, which Pyongyang claimed was a peaceful space program but which Seoul and Washington denounced as a prohibited test of ballistic missile technology.