Singapore, India take stance in South China Sea row
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2015 - 11:35am

MANILA, Philippines — No threat or force should prevail in the maritime dispute between China and its smaller neighbors like the Philippines, the governments of India and Singapore said in separate occasions in recent weeks.

The two economic powerhouses in Asia expressed their official positions in joint statements with the United States on the years-long tension due to overlapping claims of jurisdiction in the South China Sea.

Singapore urged claimant states to manage the disputes through international institutions such as the ASEAN, East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

Singapore and the US "affirmed the importance of regional peace and stability, maritime aviation security, freedom and safety of navigation and overflight, as well as unimpeded, lawful commerce."

Singapore, represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Chee Wee Kiong, also took a swipe at China's land reclamation activities in areas claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea, urging the Asian giant to "exercise self-restraint."

RELATED: Palace: No military solution to West Philippine Sea dispute

Singapore also believes the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) can be an effective avenue in international law to resolve this dispute.

India, meanwhile, said that stability in the strategic waterway is necessary for economic prosperity in the region.

"We call on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including [UNCLOS]," New Delhi's joint pronouncement with Washington says.

Earlier this month, American President President Barack Obama said in an interview with CNN that the US supports China's rise, but such growth should not be detrimental to its neighbors.

"China growth shouldn't be at the expense of other folks. It shouldn't bully small countries like Vietnam or the Philippines over maritime issues, but try to resolve those peacefully," Obama said.

AMERICAN PRESIDENT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA EAST ASIA SUMMIT FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER CHEE WEE KIONG INDIA AND SINGAPORE LAW OF THE SEA NEW DELHI REGIONAL FORUM SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION UNITED STATES
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