Togo latest country to support China’s stand on South China Sea issue

2016-05-19 00:59:00 GMT2016-05-19 08:59:00(Beijing Time) Global Times

West African nation Togo announced Wednesday its support to China on the South China Sea issue, the latest country to back China's call for bilateral talks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of the Republic of Togo issued a communiqué on the South China Sea, recognizing direct dialogue and negotiations between parties concerned as the only way to achieve a fair and equitable settlement of the South China Sea issue, and asked all parties concerned to maintain peace and security in the sensitive areas of the South China Sea with joint efforts.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a daily briefing on Wednesday that the position held by Togo conforms to the basic fact, and the bilateral and regional consensus reached between China and relevant countries on resolving disputes through consultation.

It is also in line with international law and universal practice, and reflects the international community's objective and fair opinion on this issue, Hong said.

"China has taken efforts to explain the historical facts of its sovereignty in the South China Sea and clarify its position to the international community, as The Hague prepares to hand down its verdict soon," Liu Feng, a Hainan-based expert on the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The Philippines filed a case before the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague on its dispute with China over the South China Sea.

The fact that more countries are willing to voice support for China highlights China's long-term efforts to solve the disputes through bilateral channels, a peaceful approach that has gained international acclaim, Liu noted.

Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah issued a statement in support of China's stance on the issue in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Monday.

Gambia, ASEAN members Laos, Cambodia and Brunei, as well as BRICS countries Russia and India all voiced their support to China's position in settling disputes over the South China Sea through negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned.

"It will go against many countries' craving for a peaceful and stable environment if the Philippines and the US  continue to provoke China in the region," said Liu.

"The international community understands why China is ignoring any court verdict that would harm China's interests," he added.

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