US and New Zealand leaders have called on China to abide by principles and regulations in international treaties to which it is a member, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

Addressing after their talks in Washington DC on June 20, US President Barack Obama and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key stressed the need to peacefully resolve a dispute over China’s stationing of its oil rig in the East Sea and avoid escalating tension.

"It is important for us to be able to resolve disputes like maritime disputes in accordance with international law, and encourage all parties concerned to maintain a legal framework for resolving issues, as opposed to possible escalation that could have an impact on navigation and commerce," Obama told reporters.

For his part, Key affirmed New Zealand’s view that parties involved need to abide by international law, including the sea law.

Early this month, a United Nations tribunal which handles the Philippines’ case against China’s territorial claims over the East Sea, gave Beijing until December 15 to reply.

In 2013, the Philippines submitted a 4,000-page document detailing arguments and legal evidence against China’s territorial claim over the East Sea – which is invalid and illegal according to UNCLOS 1982.-VNA