Logistics of The Hague Ruling on the South China Sea

  • May ongoing and peaceful international trade win the day

Singapore’s sagacious Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong captured the true essence of the dilemma when he made the observation that the South China Sea is part of a “complex and comprehensive relationship” and that the South China Sea is “just one item to be put on the table and not as a one-dimensional issue” [1].  In his interview with the Wall Street Journal he observed that “First, you must have an overall relationship; secondly, you must be quite clear what the principles are, including international law, and thirdly, in the case of the South China Sea particularly, freedom of navigation is something which concerns many countries, whether you are a claimant state or not. Then, having done that, you are in a position to say ‘I am here, I have an overall relationship with China, we have issues, we have cooperation, but we also have things which we need to discuss.’”

In other words, there is a lot to talk about! Freedom of the Seas is the concept at the core of the international legislation that has enabled the South Asia Region and the world at large to benefit from many years of peaceful maritime trade and burgeoning investment.

The concept of shared prosperity is also at the core of China’s One Belt One Road initiative, along with the objectives of creating cohesion, cultural exchanges, and broadening trade.

Let’s hope that continued negotiations unify, secure and enhance these noble aims.

 

[1] http://www.pmo.gov.sg/mediacentre/pm-lee-hsien-loongs-interview-wall-street-journal-wsj#three

 

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