As tensions in the East China and South China Seas continue to escalate, the Group of Seven nations (G7) has expressed concern over the situation in the region. Asia’s largest nation, China, and other countries in the region including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines are embroiled in bitter territorial disputes over oil-rich resources situated in those waters.
The leaders of the seven industrialized nations (G7) are currently in Brussels for a summit to discuss trade, economy, energy, security and the Ukraine-Crimea issue. While on the first day of their two-day summit, the leaders have come up with a foreign policy communiqué that touched on the matter of territorial rows in the Asian region. “We are deeply concerned by tensions in the East and South China Sea. We oppose any unilateral attempt by any party to assert its territorial or maritime claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force,” stated the letter. It further called for involved parties to seek peaceful ways to resolve the matter by following the spirit of international law concerning these matters.
The statement comes at a time when China’s unilateral acts are increasing in the East and South China seas. Earlier in May, China allegedly set up an “illegal” oil rig, the Hayang Shiyou 981, in disputed waters near Vietnam, causing the latter to lodge a protest against China and to seek help from Japan and the United States. Japan is also in the middle of a territorial dispute with China on a row of islets in the East China Sea called the Senkakus. Just last week, a Chinese senior official accused Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of making veiled criticisms over their increasing assertiveness in the region.
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