Scene at the East Sea workshop in Russia (Photo: VNA)

Moscow (VNA) – Security and cooperation in the East Sea were the focus of discussions at a workshop organised in Moscow on September 18 by the Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS) under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The biennial event, the third of its kind, drew the participation of over 30 leading international scholars and experts in security, international cooperation, Asia-Pacific region and disputes in the East Sea coming from Russia, Singapore, Australia, India, Mexico, France and Belgium.

Dmitry Mosyakov, Director of the IOS’s Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania, highlighted changes in disputes in the East Sea, particularly after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued a ruling in 2016, completely rejecting China’s legal and historical foundations of its sovereignty claims over 80 percent of the East Sea as well as changes in the US’s foreign policy under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The competition for influence in the region between the US and China has made the disputes more complicated and difficult to solve, he added.

Pavel Gudev, from the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations under the Russian Academy of Sciences, highlighted the fruitful relations between Russia and China as well as Southeast Asian nations, and affirmed Russia’s consistent viewpoints on the disputes in the East Sea.

He called on the involved parties not to use force or threaten to use force, and seek diplomatic and peaceful measures to address the situation on the basis of respect for international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).

Participants suggested that China immediately stop constructing and militarising artificial islands and ensure freedom of navigation, while the US should restrict the deployment of war ships to the disputed waters.

The concerned parties should accelerate the signing and fully implement the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC), conduct bilateral and multilateral negotiations to find out solutions while the European Union and other nations, such as Australia, Russia and India, should join the dispute settlement process, they said.

The delegates proposed that China and its Southeast Asian nations should find their similarities, particularly in economic cooperation, while building trust and mutual understanding, thus seeking compromises as the settlement of the disputes in the East Sea is a long-term process.

They also stressed the necessity of political and economic compromise between the US and China in completely addressing the disputes in the East Sea.-VNA