China wants joint exploration to resolve sea dispute

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — China wants to resolve territorial disputes with other countries over the South China by entering into joint exploration agreements, a Chinese expert said.

Senior Col. Zhou Bo, Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, said that territorial disputes are very common among several countries.

"As far as China is concerned, China always has put forward many proposals about resolving all these disputes. One of them is shelving differences and make joint explorations," Bo said in an interview with CCTV News.

Bo added that China's solution to resolving disputes is to hold "friendly discussions" with all concerned countries.

He claimed that throughout history, China has persevered in pursuing border claims, but 90 percent of the issues have been resolved.

The expert noted that very few countries do not have territorial disputes with other countries.

"For example, Japan has territorial disputes with Russia, with China, with (Republic of Korea) and over the ten ASEAN countries," Bo said.

The analyst also urged China and member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The Philippines was the first country to challenge China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea by filing an arbitration case before a United Nations (UN) court.

The UN tribunal is expected to issue a ruling on Manila's case against Beijing soon. China, however, insisted that it will not cooperate with the decision of the international tribunal.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he has plans to revive bilateral talks with China to resolve the dispute over the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Joint exploration within the Philippines's exclusive economic zone is a likely outcome of negotiations, observers say.

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