Canadian statement on South China Sea Arbitration
July 21, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“International law provides the foundation upon which peaceful relations among states are built, and promoting the development and use of international law to resolve difficult problems underpins Canadian foreign policy.
“On July 12, 2016, the tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea rendered a decision in the matter of the South China Sea Arbitration, which is binding on the parties to it.
“Whether one agrees or not with the ruling, Canada believes that the parties should comply with it. All parties should seize this opportunity as a stepping stone to renewed efforts to peacefully manage and resolve their disputes, in accordance with international law.
“We are deeply concerned about regional tensions that have been escalating for a number of years and have the potential to undermine peace and stability.
“It is essential that all states in the region exercise restraint and avoid coercion and actions that will escalate tension.
“All claimants must refrain from land reclamation, militarization and other actions that can undermine regional security and stability. Actions that could jeopardize freedom of navigation and overflight exercised in accordance with international law, maritime security and international trade must also be avoided.
“We urge all claimants to restore trust and confidence, including through the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, and the expeditious negotiation of a binding Code of Conduct.
“Canada is committed to the maintenance of international law and to an international rules-based order for the oceans and seas, as well as to the peaceful management and settlements of disputes. Canada therefore stands ready to contribute to initiatives that build confidence and help restore trust in the region.”
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