Pavel Gudev, an international law expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences addresses the conference (Photo: VNA)

Moscow (VNA) – Leading scientists and researchers specializing in Asia-Pacific region, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and international law, discussed the East Sea disputes in the system of modern international relations in Asia-Pacific region at a round-table in Moscow on May 11.

They analysed recent developments in the East Sea and discussed the prospects of settling the issues at the event, held by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

They affirmed that disputes in the East Sea are among the largest threats to the global stability and security, as besides the states claiming sovereignty in the area, world powers also have interest in the sea.

They showed their concern about China’s recent militarization activities in the East Sea, especially Beijing’s deployment of a missile system in the disputed area, as well as the competition of influence of the US and China in the region.

Pavel Gudev, an international law expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences said that the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague affirmed the illegal nature of China’s claims of over 80 percent of water surface of the East Sea. Meanwhile, many meetings, forums, conferences in the world and the region such as the G7 Summit and the ASEAN-EU Summit, also mentioned concerns about China’s moves in the region, especially Beijing’s construction of artificial islands and militarization in the East Sea.

He highlighted that China is making full use of its political, diplomatic and economic influences to convince other countries not to support the court’s judgment.

The expert also stressed that China should not interfere into economic activities of its neighbouring countries in disputed areas, especially not bothering Philippine and Vietnamese fishermen’s fishing activities in their traditional fishing ground.

Meanwhile, Prof. Ekaterinna Koldunov of the Russia Academy of Diplomacy said that the most important factor to ease tension in the relations between China and its neighbouring countries is the building and signing of an agreement on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

She noted that despite difficulties facing the reaching of the COC, certain progress has seen in the process through the ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting in May 2017 and the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministerial Meeting in August 2017.

Participants agreed that all parties involved should deal with disputes in the East Sea through peaceful negotiation, not to threaten to use force, and act in line with international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. China and ASEAN should promptly negotiate and sign the legally-binding COC based on international law, they said.

They also proposed that Russia should show more active engagement in settling disputes in the East Sea as an intermediary.-VNA