Fri, 14 Aug 2020

Tokyo [Japan], July 14 (ANI): Taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, China has further staked its territorial claims in the East China Sea, Japan said in its annual defence review.

The report said that China "is continuing to attempt to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea".

Citing the defence white paper, Nikkei Asian Review reported that there have been "relentless" intrusions in the areas around the Senkaku islands as called by Japan or Diaoyu in China.

Besides, China has been asserting its claims in the recent days in the South China Sea by establishing administrative districts around disputed islands while the neighbouring countries have been busy with dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

The recent Chinese intrusions have not only been condemned by the US but have also invited the latter to conduct military drills in the South China Sea.

After the 36th ASEAN summit was held last month, a joint statement was issued by the members of the bloc expressing concerns over the current situation in the South China Sea.

The ASEAN leaders stressed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and over-flight above the South China Sea, as well as upholding international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, in the South China Sea, working actively towards the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, and the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

On the ASEAN's decision, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tweeted, "The United States welcomes ASEAN Leaders' insistence that South China Sea disputes be resolved in line with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea). China cannot be allowed to treat the SCS as its maritime empire. We will have more to say on this topic soon." (ANI)

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